No. In Indiana, neither party has an automatic right to receive alimony in a divorce. Alimony is now more commonly referred to as “spousal maintenance,” and the court can award it based on the particular facts and circumstances of a case. There are generally two types of spousal maintenance in Indiana: indefinite maintenance and temporary maintenance. The award of either type of spousal maintenance is not based on the length of a marriage.
Indefinite maintenance likely will only be ordered upon a finding that a spouse is physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that he or she cannot adequately support him or herself. Alternatively, it could be ordered if one spouse cannot work because he or she has primary custody of a child who is physically or mentally incapacitated. In these situations, the court might order that the incapacitated spouse be paid maintenance for an indefinite period of time, or until such time as the circumstances change substantially.
Temporary or rehabilitative maintenance is the more common type of maintenance ordered by our courts. If such maintenance is sought, the court will consider things like the parties’ educational levels, their respective earning capacities, and whether either party sacrificed education and/or employment opportunities in order to care for the parties’ home and children. The court might take into consideration the length of the parties’ marriage; however, there is no definitive relationship between the length of the marriage and the award of spousal maintenance. Here, the court is concerned with enabling the “underdog” spouse to acquire the education and training he or she might need to secure sufficient employment and live a lifestyle similar to the former spouse.
Spousal maintenance can also be awarded by the agreement of the parties.