Divorce is the legal end of a marriage. But it is very rarely the end of some, or even all, responsibilities that the marriage created. You may be concerned that during the divorce process, and then permanently afterwards, you will lose the financial support of a soon-to-be ex-spouse. You may be worried that you will face unfair responsibilities after your life circumstances change through divorce.
In every situation, the first step to restoring your sense of control in your own life is to understand important aspects of the law. So what is the official process as it applies to Spousal Support/Maintenance?
Spousal support or maintenance is recognized under Indiana law. It can be ordered by a court during two different stages of a divorce action.
The first is during the provisional period, that 60-day “cooling off” period after the Petition for Dissolution is filed, where temporary orders can be made by a court to resolve preliminary issues. The second stage covers a set period of time after the divorce is final.
Spousal support is more commonly ordered by the court during the provisional period. It covers the time when one spouse needs financial assistance to maintain the marital residence, to find and fund alternative living arrangements, or to pay his or her bills. This type of support will likely come to an end when the divorce is final. But this is not always the case and it may be continued under certain, limited, circumstances.
Roman-Lagunas & Wheeler will make sure you understand what these circumstances are and when they apply to your situation. You need to be confident that you understand the rules – whether you are looking for spousal support, or being asked to provide it.
There are three limited circumstances the law considers that you need to be aware of. They are summed up officially like this:
- One spouse is physically or mentally incapacitated, in a way that materially affects their ability to be self-supporting;
- One spouse does not have enough property after everything is divided to provide for their needs, and that same spouse has custody of a child with a physical or mental incapacity that prevents the parent from working; or
- One spouse was a stay-at-home parent and left a career, or did not pursue further education, because of the need for him or her to be a homemaker. This type of support is called “rehabilitative support” and a support order for this reason cannot last longer than three years.