Clients ask as part of the matrimonial process; how much alimony or maintenance am I entitled to? The general answer is that it depends. It depends on the facts and circumstances of the particular case, and every case turns on its own set of facts and circumstances. Durational maintenance is maintenance that is established for a set period of years – five years, six, years, seven years – and in that frame of time, that person is working on reestablishing a career that they had let go of to stay home and take care of the children. For example, a teacher, the wife may have stopped teaching so she could stay home and raise the children, and now this is an opportunity for her to refresh her license and get back into teaching, find a job. The maintenance gives her a cushion so that she gets to the point at the end of let’s say five years where she can then be self-supporting. It’s also an opportunity for a spouse to go to college, to obtain a career, to become a nurse, to become a paralegal, a court reporter, and go out and earn a living, and at the point in time where the durational maintenance ends, it’s in enough time for that person to have established themselves in a new career.

There’s also something called non-durational maintenance, and those we see with respect to marriages that have been 30, 35, 40 years – what’s called a vintage marriage – and those marriages where the wife, for example, stayed home to take care of the children. Maybe she worked part time at a drugstore as a cashier, or she worked in a beauty salon as a receptionist or in a medical office as a receptionist and never earned maybe more than $200 or $300 a week and didn’t do it consistently enough where she’s established a career for herself and maybe had no college, and at later age in life, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for that person to obtain employment that would sustain them so that they could be self-supporting for the rest of their lives, so we would look to something called non-durational maintenance and add into that any pensions that would be coming or any Social Security that would be coming so that we can safely establish that person’s means to survive for the remainder of their lives.

If you are in need of legal counsel, please contact The Penichet Firm and we will be happy to assist you in your family and criminal law matters.