Spousal maintenance can be important to resolve during the divorce process. It can also lead to disputes which is why divorcing spouses should understand how it is determined. Either spouse may make a request for spousal maintenance, however, it may be granted only in certain circumstances.

A request for spousal maintenance may be granted if the requesting spouse is unable to meet their own minimum reasonable needs. In addition, the spouse requesting spousal maintenance must be unable to provide for their own needs due to a physical or mental disability; the inability is due to the requesting spouse’s responsibility to care for a child of the marriage that requires exceptional care due to their physical or mental disability and is custodian of the requesting spouse; and the duration of the marriage was 10 years or greater.

Alternately, if the requesting spouse is unable to meet their own minimum reasonable needs and the paying spouse meets certain criteria for family violence, a spousal maintenance award may be made. If an award of spousal support is made, there is either a $5,000 per month limit or the award will be based on 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income. Divorcing spouses are also encouraged to come to an agreement if possible.  Lastly, spousal maintenance may be awarded for different durations based on different considerations.

There are many considerations that must be resolved during divorce, including spousal maintenance which can be a contentious issue. As a result, it is best to understand when it may be granted so that divorcing spouses can protect their interests during the process.

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