A decree finalizing a divorce in Kansas may award either party an allowance for future support. This allowance is more commonly known as spousal support, maintenance, or alimony. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to even the playing field between the parties as they attempt to rebuild their lives post-divorce and to maintain the standard of living the parties developed during their marriage.
Under K.S.A. 23-2902, a maintenance award must be in an amount that the court finds to be fair, just, and equitable under the circumstances. This language gives the Court broad discretion in determining maintenance awards. The overarching principle in making this determination is the ability of one party to pay and the other party’s need for support.
The method used to calculate a spousal maintenance award varies for each individual divorce case. Kansas law provides that maintenance can be paid in a lump sum, in periodic payments, on a percentage of earnings, or any other basis. Again, this allows Courts to make determinations on a case-by-case basis, giving judges the ability to evaluate each unique scenario and to react accordingly.A common approach for calculating a spousal maintenance award in Kansas is to find the difference between the parties’ income levels and to apply a percentage to that difference. In Johnson County, if periodic payments are to be made, a rule of thumb is that spousal maintenance is awarded for one third (1/3) the length of the parties’ marriage. Further, 20% is used as the percentage to apply to the difference in the parties’ income.
For example, Parties A and B are getting divorced after their 12-year marriage in Johnson County District Court. Party A makes $100,000 per year and Party B makes $50,000 per year. Applying the typical Johnson County 20% figure to the difference in the parties’ income, the method above would result in the following maintenance award:
Many counties have developed similar guidelines for calculating spousal maintenance awards, however, they are not binding. While helpful in calculating spousal maintenance awards in most cases, Courts retain the ability to make a determination for each unique case.
To avoid potential errors during a divorce, seek the advice of a skilled attorney. Titus Law Firm’s family law attorneys will be your guide to getting the spousal maintenance you need to rebuild your life, or will help you protect your assets and avoid paying excessive amounts of spousal maintenance following the finalization of your divorce.