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What does unemployability mean for spousal maintenance cases?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Spousal Maintenance

With Indiana spousal maintenance, the concept of unemployability holds significant weight. It may mean a spouse is unable to get or maintain gainful employment. This could be due to physical or mental incapacity, lack of skills, education or other factors.

In such cases, the court may consider several variables to determine the appropriate amount of support for the other spouse to provide. These factors may include the spouse’s education level, work experience, age and health status.

Relevant evidence

Spouses presenting a case of unemployability need evidence to support the claim. This evidence may include medical records, vocational assessments, educational transcripts, employment history and testimony from experts if necessary. The goal is to show the court that the spouse’s inability to get employment is genuine and not a result of willful avoidance.

Imputed income

In Indianapolis, the median household income is $59,110. In some instances, the court may impute income to a spouse it believes is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

The court assigns a certain level of income to the spouse based on factors such as their earning capacity, previous employment history and prevailing job market conditions. Imputing income prevents one spouse from unfairly benefitting from a decision to remain unemployed or underemployed.

Modification of support

Unemployability is not necessarily a permanent condition. As such, spousal maintenance orders may be subject to modification. This could happen with significant changes in circumstances, such as the improvement of the spouse’s employability or the financial situation of either party. Either spouse can petition the court for a modification of support based on these changes.

Understanding these factors can help spouses navigate the complexities of spousal maintenance proceedings.