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What is Spousal Maintenance?
Formerly referred to as alimony, spousal maintenance is the payment from the future income or earnings to support the other former spouse. The spousal maintenance (alimony) is awarded to the lesser-earning party. One of the key considerations in awarding spousal maintenance is the standard of living – the quality of life – the parties had during their marriage. Other factors that may be considered are the length of the marriage, the capabilities and possibly the age of the spouse looking to receive alimony, and whether or not children play a role.
An award of spousal maintenance can be temporary or permanent. An award of spousal maintenance also can be changed, and in some cases terminated.
The Amount Determined
There are various considerations for the amount to be paid as spousal maintenance. The payment must be affordable but still assist the receiver. Important factors include the amount necessary to live, income already available, possibility to earn income in the future, and how many children along with their needs. The length of time can also vary based on need factors.
The time span can range from temporary, short-term, or long-term. Temporary spousal maintenance is paid over the course of the divorce process and is usually determined by each spouse’s income levels. Short-term is awarded for a limited time to allow the spouse in need to get their barring. Long-term or permanent maintenance is usually given after a lengthy marriage or if more time is needed for the spouse to become self-sufficient.
Factors to Consider for Spousal Maintenance
- The parties’ standard of living during their marriage
- The length of the marriage and, in the case of a homemaker, the contributions to the marriage of the homemaker and the employment opportunities forgone by the homemaker during the marriage.
- The financial resources of the party seeking spousal maintenance, including the property received by that spouse in the divorce and any child support received.The age and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance, and the ability of that spouse to become self-supporting, including following education or training.
- The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her own needs while paying spousal maintenance.
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