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Kansas Alimony

In Kansas one spouse pays alimony, also known as maintenance, to the other when the recipient lacks sufficient income or sufficient assets to be self-supporting.

According to Kansas law, the court may award either party alimony in an amount determined to be fair, just and equitable. The courts initial alimony award may not exceed 121 months. After 121 months, the recipient may apply for another 121 months.

The court considers several factors when setting the amount and duration of alimony, including each spouse's income and the value of each spouse's assets. The length of the marriage is important because the court bases the duration of the alimony on a formula tied to the length of the marriage. One Kansas County, for example, established the following support guidelines: under five years, alimony is usually half the length of the marriage; longer than five years, alimony is two years plus one-third of the length of the marriage, up to 121 months. If the divorce decree ordering maintenance allows for either party to modify it, those modifications must be sought before the 121-month time period ends. Upon modification, the court may extend maintenance payments for no more than 121 months.

The Kansas court can modify support if the payer experiences a "substantial change in circumstances" that affects his or her ability to pay. Such circumstances can include a decrease in income or unemployment. The recipient may request an increase in support if a change in circumstances has caused an increase in financial need. However, the court cannot increase spousal support payments without the paying spouse's permission.

If the spouse receiving support gets remarried, he or she loses the right to any further spousal support.

If the parties cannot agree to their own maintenance payments, the court decides. Once a court order for spousal support is issued, the paying spouse is required to make all payments. If any payments are missed, the recipient can seek a judgment from a Kansas court. When a judgment is issued, the delinquent spouse's paychecks can be garnished, liens placed on any real estate and any funds in bank accounts seized.

Alimony influences the distribution of property, and it can become intricately involved in a divorce settlement. When spouses are unable to reach an agreement on this issue, the District can order support on a case-by-case basis.

Types of Alimony

Generally, alimony payments are temporary.

In Kansas alimony is very rarely awarded permanently and only in very long-term marriages. A court awards permanent alimony when the requesting spouse can no longer work or did not work during the marriage and has not been in the workforce for a long time.

There are several different types of alimony available in Kansas. They are:

  • General support - awarded when one spouse earns significantly more money than the other.
  • Reimbursement support - awarded to pay back one spouse when he or she provided significant support to the household while the other spouse pursued an education.
  • Transition support - awarded temporarily if the requesting spouse needs to complete training or education before obtaining employment with a sufficient income.

Regardless of the type of alimony a court awards, the paying spouse is entitled to deduct any payments from his or her income for tax purposes while the receiving spouse is required to claim the payments as income.

Factors Considered by the Court

In Kansas alimony is discretionary. The court uses judgment when decreeing any award to either party for future support denominated as maintenance, and orders an amount the court finds to be fair, just and equitable under all of the circumstances.

According to Kansas Statutes - Chapter 60 - Article 16 - Subject: 1610, the court may decree that the future payments are modifiable or terminable under circumstances prescribed in the decree.

The court may modify maintenance retroactive to a date at least one month after the date that the motion to modify was filed with the court, but not in excess of 121 months. If the original court decree reserves the power of the court to hear subsequent motions for reinstatement of maintenance and such a motion is filed prior to the expiration of the stated period of time for maintenance payments, the court shall have jurisdiction to hear a motion by the recipient of the maintenance to reinstate the maintenance payments.

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