Understanding Spousal Maintenance

December 29, 2017

Anyone who has been through a divorce knows that they can take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Many of the issues that you and your spouse were unable to resolve in private may now be on full-display in front of judges and lawyers. Information that you deem personal, such as your annual income, may become the topic of debate. Some people going through divorce are fortunate enough to avoid the legal system in general. They may have prenuptial agreements that outline post-divorce arrangements quite neatly. Others, like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, may share a desire to split amicably and can find common ground relatively easily. Others, however, are not as fortunate.

 

Common issues tackled during the divorce process such as division of property, child custody, child support are often emotionally-charged. The one issue that causes perhaps the most controversy, however, is spousal maintenance, sometimes known as spousal support. Keep reading to learn more about this area of law and which steps to follow to secure justice when navigating the legal system.

 

What is Spousal Maintenance?

 

One could argue that the idea of spousal support is old-fashioned. The idea behind it rests on the idea of a romantic and financial union. If we were to look back a number of decades, we would notice that few women earned advanced degrees or occupied managerial positions in business or government. The expectations were simply different in that era. It was enshrined in legal doctrines that the spouse, usually the male, who usually earned dramatically more than his partner, had an obligation to provide for the other party in their post-divorce lives.

 

How is Spousal Maintenance Determined?

 

There are a number of factors that come into play when deciding the amount and duration of payments, such as:

  • The education levels of both partners

  • The differential in annual income

  • The ability of either partner to earn credentials that would enhance their employment opportunities

  • How close the parties are to retirement-age

 

Remember, judges are seeking to determine whether both parties will be able to support themselves in the years to come. If both partners are young, well-educated, and in the middle of rewarding careers, then it would be unlikely for one partner to receive spousal maintenance payments in any meaningful way. Alternatively, if there is a huge differential in income and education levels, then one party may be required to prove substantially-high spousal maintenance payments, perhaps indefinitely. Also, it is important to note that these payments do not replace other requirements, such as child support payments.

 

Finding the Right Attorney

 

If you expect to become involved in divorce proceedings, the best thing you can do is to contact the right attorney to represent your interests. Spousal Maintenance payments may affect you for decades to come. For many in today’s economy, there is often no room for error in matters involving this level of money. Leaving these decisions in the wrong hands could be disastrous. For dedicated, aggressive, personalized counsel, contact the team at Delgado Law today.

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