Spousal support is sometimes a part of divorce proceedings, which results in one spouse making periodic payments to their former spouse for a set period of time or other forms of payment. Spousal support can be ordered by the court or agreed to by the spouses. Kansas has set limits for how long this support lasts, but these can be altered in some circumstances. A Kansas City divorce attorney can help spouses reach a fair agreement or represent your interests during divorce proceedings.

Understanding Spousal Support

Spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony, allows both spouses to maintain a similar standard of living that they enjoyed during their marriage, with the goal of aiding the spouse who receives the payments in obtaining financial independence. Support is typically paid in one of the following ways:

  1. A lump-sum payment, either one-time or through installments
  2. Periodic or monthly payments until a set date
  3. A percentage of the paying spouse’s earnings

It can also be awarded on any other basis that is deemed fair.

What Factors Are Considered by the Court?

Spouses can agree on an amount of spousal support, or they take the case to the court for it to decide. When the court decides on spousal support, it will review specific factors. When the court reviews a spousal agreement, it may also review these same factors to determine if the agreement is fair. The court considers the following when deciding if awarding support is fair and how much that support needs to be:

  1. The duration of the couple’s marriage
  2. The standard of living that the spouses enjoyed in their marriage
  3. The age of each spouse
  4. The mental and physical health of each spouse
  5. Each spouse’s financial resources
  6. Each spouse’s contributions to their marriage and marital assets
  7. The time that is needed to secure training or the education needed to secure gainful employment
  8. The ability of the paying spouse to pay the support while also meeting their own needs

How Long Is Support Awarded For?

In Kansas, spousal support cannot exceed 121 months, or 10 years and one month, when awarded by the court. A spouse can file for reinstatement before the support expires, and the court can award additional support but never for longer than 121 months per reinstatement. Spousal support can exceed these constraints if both spouses agree to it within their own divorce agreement.

Spousal support also terminates if one spouse dies or when the spouse receiving payments remarries. When spouses create their own agreement, they can state their own terms for termination of spousal support. However, these are not the only circumstances where spousal support can be altered. Support payments can also be modified due to life changes.

Modifications of Spousal Support

Modifying court orders is often necessary when there are significant financial or life changes for ex-spouses. Modifications can sometimes be made if both spouses agree to the modification and submit the change for approval. If the spouses don’t agree, they must petition the court. The court has jurisdiction over any orders it creates and over divorce agreements that it approves. For the court to be able to modify an order, both of the following must be true:

  1. There is a central, relevant, and material change in circumstances.
  2. A change that would increase the amount or liability of the paying spouse must have the consent of that party before it can be made.

While the court is able to reduce the paying spouse’s liability without their consent, it cannot increase it. Relevant and material changes that allow for the modification of spousal support orders may include an increase or decrease in either spouse’s income, new resource losses or acquisitions, or changes in either spouse’s financial needs.


Q: How Can You Avoid Paying Alimony in Kansas?

A: You can avoid paying alimony in Kansas by showing that your spouse does not need financial support to support their way of living. Alimony in Kansas is awarded based on the needs of a spouse, and the court determines whether support is fair based on several factors.

If you and your spouse get a divorce outside of court or have a prenuptial agreement, the determination of spousal support will be under your and your spouse’s control rather than the court’s. As long as a divorce settlement is not unfair, the court will approve it.

Q: Is Alimony Automatic in Kansas?

A: No, alimony is not automatic in Kansas divorces. The court reviews specific factors to determine whether it is fair and necessary in a specific couple’s situation, and it then uses those factors to determine the amount and duration of support if it is granted. These factors may include:

  1. How long the couple was married
  2. The age of each party
  3. The physical and emotional health of each party
  4. The standard of living established in the marriage
  5. Each party’s financial resources
  6. Each party’s contributions to the marriage

Q: In Kansas, Does Infidelity Affect Divorce?

A: Infidelity has no effect on a Kansas divorce. There are two fault-based grounds to file a divorce in addition to the no-fault grounds. These grounds are failing to perform a marital obligation and incompatibility due to mental illness or incapacity. Infidelity is not grounds for divorce.

When the court determines if support is needed and the fair division of assets between parties, several factors are considered, but infidelity is not one of these stated factors. However, because courts can consider any relevant factors, infidelity could be considered based on the discretion of the court.

Q: How Long Does It Take for a Divorce to Be Final in Kansas?

A: The length of time it takes for a divorce to be final relies on many factors in Kansas, but it must be at least 60 days. After a spouse files a divorce petition, there is a waiting period of 60 days before the divorce is finalized. Spouses typically use this time to negotiate a separation agreement, but these negotiations may take longer than the 60-day waiting period. If spouses get a divorce through litigation, the process will take much longer and rely on the availability of the court.

Contact Stange Law Firm in Kansas City, KS

Spousal support can be necessary to provide an ex-spouse with crucial support. However, the awarding of this support should not place another party in financial harm or uncertainty. It’s useful to work with a skilled attorney to protect your rights during divorce proceedings or negotiations. Contact the attorneys at Stange Law Firm today.