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maintenance in divorce

How is Maintenance Determined in Divorce

After a divorce, the court may decide to order one ex-spouse to pay the other maintenance, sometimes referred to as alimony or spousal support. In order to help one spouse adjust to living separately, maintenance is meant to help them maintain financial stability. But how does the court decide whether or not to award maintenance in divorce, and if so, how much? 

Objectives and Benefits of Maintenance    

When deciding on an appropriate level of maintenance in divorce, courts in most states across America and the rest of the world take into account a variety of factors. These typically include details about both partners’ income, assets, such as real estate, debts, lifestyle costs, such as medical bills, age differences, the length of the marriage, any agreements made during prenuptial negotiations before getting married, and more. They also include whether either partner can find work that pays enough money to cover basic needs on their own without the help of their former partner. 

The goal of maintenance is to ensure both parties to the divorce have an equitable standard of living after it is finalized, so no single spouse will be left financially crippled by having been married at some point prior to splitting up with their former husband or wife. In addition to helping balance out unequal salaries between two spouses who are parting ways, maintenance can allow one spouse to restart educational pursuits that had been put on hold owing to the marriage.

The long-term financial stability of each party is taken into consideration whenever a court must decide whether or not to provide support for either party. Both divorcing spouses must be open and truthful about their present financial condition, and provide all supporting documentation.  Lying or hiding information related to assets, liabilities, and income can be considered a violation of the court’s trust and result in severe legal consequences.

Factors Considered in Determining Maintenance in Divorce

When it comes to determining what amount should be awarded by way of maintenance, courts will consider different factors such as each individual’s employability; the difference between each person’s standard of living pre and post-divorce; the number of years spent as a couple, and more. Aside from these factors, there are often geographical variations in terms of how much money can be awarded.

In cases where spouses cannot agree on an amount for maintenance, the presiding court will decide based on its own judgment. In some cases, this can be a lengthy process and involve getting input from financial experts to better estimate what would likely be a fair amount of support. 

Ultimately, when it comes to deciding how much maintenance should be awarded in divorce proceedings, no two cases are the same. Courts must consider all aspects of each individual’s financial situation in order to make an informed decision. And when couples cannot come to an agreement on their own, the court will ultimately decide how much is necessary in order for a fair and equitable divorce settlement. 

With an understanding of the legal process, both parties can feel confident knowing their financial requirements will be considered and, if necessary, addressed once they have a clear grasp of the legal procedure. 

Get help from professionals

Nobody should experience financial hardship after going through a divorce. That is why being aware of the process used to assess maintenance in divorce can help people prepare themselves for potential court proceedings and ensure they are adequately compensated if needed. 

Our Purposeful Wealth Advisors team works closely with divorce attorneys, accountants, and other dedicated professionals to arrive at comprehensive solutions for our clients.

If you’re going through a divorce, you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you navigate the process.


The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Purposeful Wealth Advisors, and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each
person’s situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.