The prospect of divorce can be stressful and upsetting because a marital dissolution results in significant changes in your parenting relationship, standard of living, net worth and living situation. While a significant number of married households involve two working spouses, there are still many marriages that have a more traditional arrangement with one spouse serving as the primary breadwinner and the other spouse focusing on taking care of the children and family home. When a divorce involves spouses with this type of family dynamic, alimony (referred to in Kansas as “maintenance”) constitutes a critical financial issue. Because of the importance of maintenance or spousal support, Kansas divorce attorney J. Joseph Weber has provided answers to common questions about maintenance.
Will maintenance be ordered in every Kansas divorce?
Although there is no guarantee that a judge will order maintenance, this form of support typically will be ordered when there is a significant disparity between the financial circumstances of the spouses. This disparity often results from career, educational, and training sacrifices made by the spouse who assumes primary responsibility for parenting and household tasks. Maintenance is particularly appropriate to permit the financially disadvantaged spouse to progress toward being financially independent.
What types of maintenance are recognized under Kansas law?
Maintenance under Kansas law falls into three categories: (1) temporary maintenance; (2) short-term maintenance; and (3) long-term maintenance. Temporary maintenance provides financial support to the lower earning or stay-at-home spouse during the pendency of the divorce proceeding. Short-term maintenance is granted for a limited time after a divorce to facilitate the supported spouse in achieving a reasonable standard of living without support. Long-term maintenance will last longer, but this form of support also typically will terminate after a certain period of years or the happening of an event, such as remarriage. Under Kansas law, a court may not grant maintenance for a longer period than 121 months unless a special motion is filed.
What factors does a judge consider when ordering spousal maintenance?
The factors a judge will weigh when calculating a support order for a spouse include:
- Property and income of each spouse
- Duration of the marriage
- Contributions of one spouse to the earning capacity of the other spouse
- Whether the spouses have children from the relationship
When one of the spouses was a stay-at-home parent, the other spouse generally will be obligated to pay spousal support until the caretaking spouse can effectively return to the work force after obtaining sufficient training and education.
How is spousal maintenance paid to the recipient spouse?
Typically, maintenance is paid in monthly installments through a central collection unit unless both spouses consent to alternative arrangements. Occasionally, maintenance will be paid in a lump sum payment, but this is not the typical schedule for payment. The recipient spouse can enforce a maintenance order by having the paying spouse’s employer process a wage withholding order and forward the payments.
If you have questions about alimony or other aspects of divorce in Kansas, we welcome the opportunity to talk to you and answer your questions. We invite you to call the Kansas Family Law Attorney at the Weber Law Office at (316) 265-7802 or to submit an inquiry form through this website to schedule your initial consultation.