Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is granted by the court for either spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance (1) lacks sufficient property, or (2) is unable to provide adequate self-support. When determining if spousal support is to be granted, the court takes into consideration the standard of living established during the marriage and all relevant circumstances such as education/employ-ability, time at home with children, etc. Spousal maintenance can be granted for a specific period of time or permanently based on what the court determines to be fair. The court reviews relevant information such as the financial sources of the party seeking maintenance (including marital property that they have), the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment, the duration of the marriage, the age and physical/emotional condition of the party seeking maintenance, etc.
Once a spousal maintenance award has been ordered by the court, a party can request a court reopen the case and modify the spousal maintenance if they believe one of the following issues occurred at the time of the decree: (1) a mistake has been made, (2) new evidence has been uncovered, or (3) fraud. If a former spouse’s situation significantly changes, generally a substantial increase of decrease of income, a modification can be sought through the court. The only way to prevent a modification of spousal maintenance is for both parties to agree in writing to waive the right to go back to court and seek changes later.
Contact Ken Wasche to help you better understand your options regarding spousal maintenance, whether you have a pending divorce, or are looking at modifying a current decree. 763 280 5100