Factors that the court will take into consideration in deciding how much and for how long to order spousal support can be anything that the court finds relevant to the determination of support. What the court will consider when thinking about the amount and term of a maintenance order:
- Financial resources of the one receiving the maintenance obligation. This includes the actual or potential income from separate or marital property or any other source and the ability of the spouse to meet his or her needs.
- Financial resources of the payor spouse. Including actual or potential income from separate or marital property or any other source and the ability of the spouse to meet his or her needs
- Lifestyle during the marriage
- Distribution of marital property
- Both parties’ income, employment, and employability, obtainable through reasonable diligence or additional training or education
- Whether one party has historically earned higher or lower income then the income reflected at the time of permanent orders and the duration and consistency of income from overtime / secondary job.
- Duration of the marriage
- Amount of temporary maintenance and number of months that was paid
- Age and health of the parties, including consideration of significant health care needs/uninsured or unreimbursed health care expense
- Significant economic or noneconomic contribution to the marriage or the advancement of one spouse
- Circumstances of the parties at the time of permanent orders warrant the award of a nominal amount of maintenance to preserve a claim in the future.
If the court finds that a maintenance award necessary the court can award any amount that is fair and equitable to both parties after considering: the guideline amount and term of maintenance set via statute. You can click her for link to the GUIDELINE. The court has no obligation to follow the guideline and will consider the specific circumstance of your case. The court will also consider the factors above and whether the asking party has met the requirements for a maintenance award.
A person will not be entitled to an award of maintenance or supposal support UNLESS the person is found to have not received significant martial assets, cannot work, or must care for a special needs child.
I always caution my clients against assuming that maintenance or supposal support will be awarded. There are to many factors and considerations to have a one size fit all approach. Even if maintenance or spousal support is appropriate, the amount and for how long is determined by a judge and it should be a fair and reasonable amount. For example, the award may be for a small amount of time to allow the other spouse to gain employment or could be reduced by the amount awarded in a property settlement.
Any amounts paid in spousal support are generally deductible on taxes by the payor spouse and should be reported as income to the payee spouse. This can get very complicated very quickly. Prior to finalizing any settlement amount or going to your permanent orders hearing, you should consult with a tax expert. Knowing your options and how they could impact you can help you choose the path that would be most advantageous for you.
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