Many in Indianapolis may have a number of misconceptions about alimony (or, as Indiana state law calls it, “spousal maintenance”), chief among them being the ideas that alimony is automatically awarded in any divorce case, and that it is always awarded to the wife. This misunderstanding may come from the notion that alimony is in some way meant to be punitive towards the spouse who makes the most money, or the one whose actions contributed to the end of a marriage. In reality, alimony is simply meant to be a temporary means of financial support.
Courts typically only award the financially disadvantaged spouse in a divorce case maintenance to help support themselves while they seek to secure gainful employment. Section 31-15-7-2 of Indiana’s state code says that situations where physical, psychological or mental issues prevent one spouse from working, or where one parent is forced to forego a career in order to care for a physically or mentally challenged child are examples of when maintenance can be considered. State family courts will also take into consideration the struggles one spouse may encounter in finding reliable employment (due to either a lack of skills or having postponed career training to see to the family’s domestic responsibilities). In either case, the awarding of alimony is not automatic, nor is the obligation to pay it typically made indefinite.
While statistics shared by the Huffington Post show that only three percent of divorced men receive alimony, they also indicate that as many as 37 percent of married mothers make more than their husbands. Thus, it is possible for courts to recognize a wife as being in a more economically advantageous position than her husband, and thus oblige her to pay maintenance.