Kansas courts may award alimony, also called maintenance, to either spouse while a divorce is pending or when the divorce is over. Maintenance awards are paid by one spouse to the other and are meant to help the receiving spouse get through the divorce process and then adjust to a new financial situation after divorce .
Maintenance awards are not meant to last forever. Rather, they are intended to help the supported spouse become financially independent and figure out how to maintain a reasonable standard of living without support. The court can make an order for temporary, short-term, or long-term support. You may receive temporary maintenance while the divorce is pending, short-term maintenance to help you for a limited time after the divorce, or long-term support if you were married for many years. Even long-term support usually has an ending date, though--either a specific date or an order that the support will end when a certain event happens, such as the supported spouse getting married. The court may not order maintenance payments to continue longer than 121 months unless either spouse files a special motion.
To decide whether to award maintenance, the court will consider various factors and then make an order based on what is fair and equitable to both spouses. Factors may include:
- the length of the marriage
- each spouse's income, assets, and employability
- whether there are children of the marriage, and
- whether one spouse contributed to the education or career of the other spouse during the marriage.
If one spouse stayed home to care for children while the other spouse worked, the court will likely order the working spouse to pay maintenance to the caretaker spouse until the recipient spouse gets the appropriate education or retraining to rejoin the work force.
The amount of maintenance will vary depending on each spouse's income and whether the receiving spouse needs education or job training. The paying spouse will usually pay maintenance in monthly installments, and in a few cases, as a lump sum. In Kansas, all maintenance orders must be paid through a central collection unit unless both spouses agree otherwise in writing. You can also enforce a maintenance order by asking your spouse's employer to withhold income from your spouse's paycheck. If you are the paying spouse, rest assured that your employer cannot terminate or discipline you as a result of an income withholding order.
You or your spouse may ask the court for a modification of maintenance if either of your financial circumstances change substantially. You must provide a reason, such as a change in jobs or a sudden inability to work, and any proof to the court such as pay stubs or income tax returns.
Maintenance payments are tax-deductible to the paying spouse, and the receiving spouse must claim the payments as income.
Kansas Statues Annotated §§ 60-1610, 60-1613