Spousal Maintenance in Olathe
Alimony Orders After Divorce
It is a common occurrence that one spouse has significantly greater income
and earning potential than the other spouse. An award of spousal maintenance,
formerly known as "alimony," is a common tool that the law allows
to equalize somewhat the incomes of divorcing parties, at least in part.
Kansas law does not recognize a concept of maintenance based on maintaining
a lifestyle "according to what [a lower income spouse] has grown
Rather, the law requires a showing of:
- Need of one party for spousal maintenance
- The ability of the other party to pay
Technically, if one of the two parts of the legal requirement for a maintenance
award is missing, the court must decline the request for spousal maintenance.
Calculating Spousal Maintenance in Kansas
As a practical matter, local courts have adopted mathematical formulas,
or "guidelines" for calculation of spousal maintenance. This
usually is a combination of a calculation based on the difference in the
parties' incomes and the length of time the parties were married.
The benefits of this approach are obvious—the judge will treat every
request for maintenance in the same or similar manner, and the parties'
lawyers generally are able to predict what the judge will award and can
advise their clients accordingly.
Unfortunately, this approach fails to observe the individual requirements
of any particular case. Overall financial and equitable circumstances
can vary greatly from case-to-case. The particular needs and requirements
of any particular situation will often get lost in a formulaic, purely
mathematical approach to spousal maintenance.
When the Formula Does Not Work for Your Family
Often times the formula doesn't make much sense. Sometimes the "disadvantaged"
spouse has excellent income or earning potential and does not really have
a "need" for spousal maintenance, as required by law. Other
times, the higher-earning spouse does not actually have enough disposable
income to be paying maintenance to anyone—in other words, he or
she doesn't have the "ability to pay," as also required
under the law before a judge can award maintenance. Finally, sometimes
the formulaic approach is too low in light of the need of a disadvantaged
spouse and perhaps the sacrifices he or she has made throughout the marriage.
Nevertheless, because both judges and attorneys are so accustomed to approaching
spousal maintenance in this way, it can be a very difficult task to persuade
the judge (and opposing counsel, if they are trying to settle the case
short of trial) that he should forego the formulaic approach and to closely
examine the specific facts of your particular case.
Retain an Olathe Spousal Maintenance Attorney
If you are facing a
divorce in which you anticipate that spousal maintenance will be a large or perhaps
a contentious issue, you need an experienced divorce attorney to evaluation
Contact our firm today to discuss your particular situation with a divorce lawyer.