The court may grant a temporary or permanent maintenance award for either spouse in
amounts and for periods of time as the court deems just, without regard to marital
misconduct, in gross or for fixed or indefinite periods of time, and the maintenance
may be paid from the income or property of the other spouse after consideration of all
relevant factors, including:|
-The income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking maintenance.
-The needs of each party.
-The present and future earning capacity of each party.
-Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage.
-The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment.
-The standard of living established during the marriage.
-The duration of the marriage.
-The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties.
-The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties.
-Contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse.
-Any valid agreement of the parties.
-Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.
In long term marriages (20 years or more) where one parent was a stay at home parent and homemaker, maintenance will likely be permanent. This is also true in shorter term marriages where one party has a disability and is unable to procure full time employment due to that disability. Maintenance is designed to allow both parties to enjoy, as close as possible, the lifestyle they would have enjoyed had the marriage not dissolved. Obviously, it will never be possible to ensure that one income can support two households in the same manner that income was previously supporting one household, so both parties should be prepared to live more frugally after divorce, particularly where one spouse is unemployed and / or unemployable.
NOTE: Maintenance can be paid in a lump sum with assets in lieu of periodic payments. This has it's pros and cons. On the positive side, it severs most if not all financial ties between the parties, since lump sum maintenance is not modifiable. On the other hand, if the receiving spouse remarries or passes away, the lump sum maintenance cannot be modified.
Maintenance is taxable to the recipient and deductible for the payor. If child support and maintenance are lumped together into what is called "unallocated support", this may create serious tax issues if it cannot be determined how much of the payments are child support and how much of the payments are maintenance. It is best to have the payments distinguished up front.