What is spousal maintenance?

Couples going through a divorce often run into the issue of whether a spousal maintenance award is appropriate. Spousal maintenance, sometimes referred to as alimony, is where one person is ordered by the court to make payments to support their ex-spouse. There are many different kinds of spousal maintenance because no two relationships are exactly alike. The court will determine if spousal maintenance is even necessary because, in situations where both spouses are financially independent, it may not be. Determining spousal maintenance isn’t always a clear cut answer for a court. They use a wide variety of factors to determine what should be awarded.

Some of these factors include:

  • How property was divided
  • The length of the marriage (longer marriages have greater awards than shorter marriages, generally speaking)
  • Earning capacity of each spouse
  • Education and career training each spouse has
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Whether one spouse put their life/career goals on hold so the other spouse could find success
  • Tax consequences each party will face
  • Which parent has custody of the children
  • Whether one spouse also must care for another family member (not including children)

If the couple was married for several decades and is nearing an age where starting a new career seems unlikely, spousal maintenance may be required. However, if neither spouse relies on the other for income, it may not even come up during the divorce at all.

If you need the services of an experienced divorce attorney, contact our firm today.

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