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Alimony In Indiana aka Spousal Maintenance

Searching for an alimony lawyer in Indianapolis?  We frequently receive calls wanting to know if Indiana allows for Alimony.

Alimony in Indiana

Unlike some other states, Indiana does not recognize alimony. Instead, Indiana provides for spousal maintenance

Spousal Maintenance in Indiana

Indiana presumes that each spouse will work and support themselves after the marriage ends. The exception to this is where one spouse is disabled and cannot work. If this happens, the non-disabled spouse will typical pay the disabled spouse what is referred to in Indiana as spousal maintenance, which some might say is really just another word for alimony.

Where one spouse is disabled and the non-disabled spouse pays spousal maintenance, the payments made can generally be deducted from the non-disabled spouse's federal income taxes.

If you are divorcing and you or your spouse is disabled, you should seek legal advise. If you have questions, please call us. We can help.

When can Maintenance be ordered?

There are only two time periods during a divorce in Indiana in which spousal maintenance can be paid. First is during the provisional period of the divorce. The provisional period is the time after filing for divorce but before the divorce is final. Courts are more inclined to grant spousal maintenance during the provisional period when there is a disparity of income between the spouses and one spouse needs spousal maintenance in order to maintain his or her standard of living. The second period during which maintenance may be ordered is after the divorce is final. In order for a court to order spousal maintenance Indiana requires certain criteria be met. Indiana's law regarding findings a court must make before awarding spousal maintenance can be found in Indiana Code 31-15-7-2.

Indiana Code 31-15-7-2: Findings concerning maintenance

Indiana law defines when awarding spousal maintenance would be appropriate:

A court may make the following findings concerning maintenance:

(1) If the court finds a spouse to be physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the ability of the incapacitated spouse to support himself or herself is materially affected, the court may find that maintenance for the spouse is necessary during the period of incapacity, subject to further order of the court.

(2) If the court finds that:

  • (A) a spouse lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for the spouse’s needs; and
  • (B) the spouse is the custodian of a child whose physical or mental incapacity requires the custodian to forgo employment; the court may find that maintenance is necessary for the spouse in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate.

(3) After considering:

  • (A) the educational level of each spouse at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced;
  • (B) whether an interruption in the education, training, or employment of a spouse who is seeking maintenance occurred during the marriage as a result of homemaking or child care responsibilities, or both;
  • (C) the earning capacity of each spouse, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, and length of presence in or absence from the job market; and
  • (D) the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse who is seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment; a court may find that rehabilitative maintenance for the spouse seeking maintenance is necessary in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate, but not to exceed three (3) years from the date of the final decree.

Temporary Spousal Maintenance

The most common time during which spousal maintenance will be awarded is during the provisional period of a divorce. This occurs because because one spouse has not worked during the marriage and needs financial assistance to maintain the marital residence or alternative living arrangements. If one party is ordered to pay the other party spousal maintenance during the provisional period, the spousal maintenance will terminate upon the entry of the final decree (unless the divorce decree orders spousal maintenance to continue).

If your spouse owes you back spousal maintenance, an arrearage, at the time the divorce decree is entered, you or your attorney needs to ensure that the arrearage is preserved going forward. The final divorce decree controls what happens going forward. So if you or your attorney fails to discuss an arrearage of court ordered spousal maintenance payments in the divorce decree, that issue would generally be considered waived.

Post Decree Spousal Maintenance

Indiana Code 31-15-7-2 specifies the three times when an award of spousal maintenance would be appropriate.

First, is if the court finds a spouse to be physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the ability of the incapacitated spouse to support himself or herself is materially affected. If the court determines this to be the case, spousal maintenance may continue as long as the incapacitated spouse remains unable to care for him or herself.

Second, is if the court finds a spouse lacks property to care for his or her needs, AND, the spouse is caring for a special needs child, and the spouse is unable to work in order to care for the special needs child.. If the court determines this to be the case, spousal maintenance may continue as long as the court finds appropriate.

The most usual situation is the third. That is where a spouse left his or her career (or did not further his or her education) in order to become a stay-at-home parent or homemaker. If the court finds that in order to find a job, the spouse would need spousal maintenance in order to attend school, the court may award spousal maintenance for up to three years.

Spousal Maintenance and Limits on Income

Not everyone will be ordered to pay or receive spousal maintenance in Indiana. The Indiana Child Support Guidelines provide guidance to the Court in making these determinations. In general, temporary spousal maintenance should not exceed thirty-five percent of the obligor’s weekly adjusted income. Furthermore, child support and temporary spousal maintenance should not exceed 50% of the obligor’s weekly adjusted income and should ensure that the obligor has the ability to care for himself. In general, care must be taken to ensure that spousal maintenance beyond the final decree does not leave the obligor with inadequate sustenance.

Contact us to learn more 317-969-8000

If you have questions about Indiana's spousal maintenance law, contact Indianapolis attorney, JR Emerson.

Child Custody

For many parents, child custody and parenting time problems create a great amount of unease. Basically in Indiana courts will resolve any dispute about child custody and parenting time according to the best interests of the children involved.

Child Support

Child support comes with rights and responsibilities.  Normally the non-custodial parent pays the parent with primary physical custody a monthly amount which is more or less fixed by the Indiana Child Support Guidelines.

Division of Assets

Indiana law creates a presumption that each party to a marriage is entitled to 50% of the marital property. This presumption can vary, but in most cases, each party is awarded 50% of the marital property and 50% of the marital debt.


Whether you are contemplating divorce, or been arrested or injured you are probably scared, unsure what will come next and what to do.  Give me a call. We will sit down, go over your options and work to find a way to move forward. Call me or another attorney. But call someone and get the help you deserve.

- JR Emerson, Attorney

I am here to help. I am not here to judge. For nearly 20 years I have been helping people in difficult situations and I would be happy to speak with you to see how I might be able to help you too.

- Jill Bracken-Emerson, Attorney


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About Us

Our office is located in the Carmel Art's District at the corner of Rangeline and Main Street.

1 S Rangeline Rd, Suite 400

Carmel, IN 46032

Phone: 1-317-969-8000

Email: Info@EmersonLawLLC.com

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Our attorneys represent people in need of assistance with personal injuries, car accidents, divorce, family law and DUI/OVWI matters.  Our clients typically live in counties throughout central Indiana including, Hamilton County, Boone County, Marion County, Hendricks County and Johnson County.  Please contact our office to learn how we can help.

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The attorneys at Emerson Law LLC represent individuals and families throughout Indiana.  Our attorneys use their courtroom skill and experience to also assist men and women in family law, personal injury, car accident lawyers and criminal law matters including divorce, child custody modification, and child support modification in Marion County, Hendricks County, Boone County, Hamilton County, Hancock County, Madison County, Johnson County.  Cities in which we practice generally include: Zionsville, Lebanon, Whitestown, Carmel, West Clay, Westfield, Noblesville, Fishers, Lawrence, Beech Grove, Speedway, Greenwood, Southport, Franklin, Plainfield, Avon and Danville, Indiana.