No matter what you call it, maintenance, spousal support or alimony, the rules guiding support between spouses have changed over time.
Unlike child support the payment of spousal support is not determined solely by a formula, but instead by numerous factors that each court must weigh to determine an appropriate amount and duration. There is a formula for the period of time between when the divorce action is commenced and when a settlement is reached, however, many judges are deviating from that formula for a variety of reasons. It is important to consider the long term needs instead of focusing solely on how much the formula may determine one is entitled to now.
The court will consider a variety of factors including: age, health, earning capacity, standard of living, length of the marriage, presence of children, and training necessary to be self-supporting, when considering a parties’ request for spousal support. The goal is for an award to be in an amount and for a length of time to permit the less monied spouse to become “self-supporting.”
Another factor to consider is that unlike child support, spousal support is taxable to the person who is receiving it, and deductible to the person who is paying.
When you are considering a divorce, it is important to speak to a knowledgeable attorney so that you can have the information necessary to make an informed decision about how to proceed.