In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or invalidity of marriage, the court may grant a temporary or permanent award for maintenance for either spouse in amounts and for periods of time as the court deems just. Said award of maintenance is entered without regard to marital fault. The maintenance can be in gross or for a fixed or indefinite period of time. Further, the maintenance can be paid from the income or property of the other spouse after consideration of all relevant factors. The relevant factors include: 1) The income and property of each party; 2) The needs of each party; 3) The present and future earning capacity of each party: 4) Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance; 5) The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment; 6) The standard of living established during the marriage; 7) The duration of the marriage; 8) The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties; 9) The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties; 10) Contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential of the other spouse; 11) Any valid agreement of the parties; and 12) Any other factor that the court deems to be just and equitable.
As you can see, many of the factors are limited in terms of the value to calculate. The most important of the above factors are the length of marriage, income and earning capacity, and standard of living established during the marriage. The shorter the marriage, the more likely that the spouse seeking maintenance will be entitled only to rehabilitative maintenance. That type of maintenance can last somewhere between one to three years and terminate thereafter. It allows the spouse receiving the maintenance to find the skill, education or employment that will allow that spouse to sustain an income.
Permanent maintenance is for the payee's life, but usually subject to termination upon the happening of a specific event. For example, said maintenance can end upon the remarriage of the party, the death of either party, or residing with another on a resident conjugal basis. These triggering events can lead to the termination of maintenance.
Importantly, there is no magic formula to determine if maintenance is appropriate. Further, if maintenance is warranted, there is no mathematical equation to plug-in. In reality, the award of maintenance is a range that a court can award based upon the numerous factors listed above. Please consult with an experienced divorce or family law attorney in determining whether or not maintenance is warranted in a particular case.
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