Spousal Maintenance (alimony) describes payments made by one spouse to the other spouse to preserve their lifestyle when the earning capacity of one is significantly greater than the earning capacity of the other.
The court may grant a spousal maintenance award for either spouse in amounts and for periods of time as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, and the maintenance may be paid from the income or the property of the other spouse.
The court shall first determine whether a maintenance award is appropriate, 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 as well as all financial obligations imposed on the parties as a result of the dissolution of marriage;
- The needs of each party;
- The realistic 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, of career opportunities due to the marriage;
- Any impairment of the realistic present or future earning capacity of the party against whom maintenance is sought.
- The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment or any parental responsibility arrangements and its effect on the party seeking employment;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and the needs of each of the parties;
- All sources of public and private income including, without limitation, and disability and retirement income.
- 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; and
- Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.
For the spousal maintenance purposes, a “terminating event” may include one of the following:
- Death of the receiving spouse;
- Death of the payor spouse
- Remarriage of the receiving spouse
- Resident, conjugal cohabitation with another or on the part of the receiving spouse
- The retirement of the payor spouse
In situations when the combined gross annual income of the parties is less than $500,000 and the payor has no obligation to pay child support or maintenance or both from a prior relationship, maintenance payable after the date the parties’ marriage is dissolved shall be in accordance with the following provisions, unless the court makes a finding that the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate.
The amount of the maintenance shall be calculated by taking 30% of the payor’s gross annual income minus 20% of the payee’s gross annual income. The amount calculated as maintenance, however, when added to the gross income of the payee, may not result in the payee receiving an amount that is in excess of 40% of the combined gross income of the parties.
Duration of an Award
The duration of an award shall be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage at the time the action was commenced by whichever of the following factors applies:
Additionally, in the discretion of the court, any term of temporary maintenance paid by court order pursuant to Section 501 may be a corresponding credit to the duration of spousal maintenance set forth above.
If the court determines that a spousal maintenance award is appropriate, the court shall order maintenance in accordance with either (1) maintenance award in accordance with guidelines or (2) maintenance award not in accordance with guidelines, which shall be made after the court’s consideration of all relevant factors as set forth above.