Spousal support (“maintenance” or “alimony”)

In a limited number of divorce cases, one spouse may be entitled to receive maintenance, also known as alimony, from the other spouse. An entitlement to maintenance depends upon a variety of factors, and if not agreed upon, is ultimately a decision for the court.  In some instances, temporary maintenance can be received by one spouse from the other while the divorce is ongoing and before it becomes final. Different from child support, there are no charts or formulas that can be relied upon to predict whether, or in what amount, maintenance will be payable.  As a result, maintenance is often a hotly contested issue in many divorces.

Generally, a spouse can make a request for maintenance if she or he does not have sufficient property to provide for her or his reasonable needs, AND is unable to support herself or himself through employment. The amount and duration of maintenance depend upon several variables, including, but not limited to, the financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, the time necessary for the spouse seeking maintenance to find employment or receive education or training to obtain employment, the age of any children in the care of the spouse seeking maintenance, the standard of living established during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age and overall health of the spouses, and generally the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet her or his needs, if required to pay maintenance.