Alimony Laws in Kansas

by Bernadette A. Safrath

    Alimony, also called spousal support, may be awarded during a divorce proceeding in Kansas. Alimony is paid by one spouse to the other when the receiving spouse has neither a sufficient income nor sufficient assets to be self-supporting when the marriage ends. The Kansas Revised Statutes set forth the types of alimony available, duration of payments and when alimony can be modified or terminated.

    Eligibility

    There are several different types of alimony available in Kansas. The court will determine which type a spouse is eligible for. General support is awarded when one spouse earns significantly more money than the other. Reimbursement support is ordered to pay back one spouse if that spouse provided significant financial contributions to the household while the other spouse pursued an education. Finally, transitional support is 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 income for tax purposes while the receiving spouse is required to claim the payments as income.

    Amount and Duration

    Alimony is very rarely awarded permanently in Kansas and only in very long-term marriages. A court may award 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. Generally, alimony payments are temporary. The court considers several factors when setting the amount and duration. The court considers each spouse's income and the value of each spouse's assets. The strongest factor is the length of the marriage because the court uses a formula based on it to determine the duration of the alimony award, not to exceed 121 months. For example, Johnson County established the following support guidelines: For marriages between zero and five years, alimony is usually awarded for half the length of the marriage. For marriages longer than five years, the alimony period is two years plus one-third of the length of the marriage, up to 121 months.

    Enforcement

    Once a court order for spousal support is issued, the owing spouse is required to make all payments. If any payments are missed, the receiving spouse 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.

    Modification and Termination

    A Kansas court can modify a spousal support order if the spouse who owes support experiences a "substantial change in circumstances" that affects his ability to pay. Such circumstances can include a decrease in income or loss of employment. The receiving spouse 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. Additionally, the obligation to make payments may terminate before the date set by the court in limited circumstances. If either spouse dies, spousal support terminates. If the spouse receiving support gets remarried, she loses the right to any further spousal support.

    About the Author

    Bernadette A. Safrath is an attorney who has been writing professionally since 2008. She was published in Touro Law Center's law review and now writes for various websites. Safrath has a Bachelor of Arts in music from Long Island University at C.W. Post, as well as a Juris Doctor from Touro College.