A divorced party is not automatically entitled to alimony or maintenance.
The law acknowledges that marriages are partnerships and even though one party may not have worked at a wage paying job, he or she is presumed to have contributed equally to the marriage in other ways.
These contributions could be:
- child rearing
- managing a household
- providing physical and emotional support to the wage earning spouse
The party asking for maintenance must have a need for it and the other party must have the ability to pay. If both side’s criteria exist then the court will look at a number of factors to determine not only the amount of maintenance to be paid but also for how long it is to be paid.
The factors included would be:
- Length of marriage
- Age and physical and emotional health of the parties
- The division of property
- Educational level of each party at the time the action is commenced
- The earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market
- Custodial responsibilities for children
- The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to find appropriate employment
- The feasibility that the party seeking maintenance can become self supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage, and, if so, the length of time necessary to achieve this goal
- The tax consequences to each party
- Any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage
- The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other
After the court considers the factors, a decision to how much support will be given to a party and for how long will be made. If you are considering divorce or have an active case that you are asking for maintenance in, contact the attorneys at John T. Fields & Associates to help fight for your rights.