It is most important for a client to understand that the amount and duration of maintenance will vary greatly dependant on the length of the marriage, the underlying financial circumstances of each of the parties, and the Judge deciding the application.
Each case will have its own peculiar and unique factors, so no hard and fast rules will apply. But the provision of the maintenance statute requires the Judge to consider which to follow and the reason for doing so. The mandate is to reach a decision based upon the standard “as justice requires” and will include the following:
1. the standard of living during the marriage
2. the income and property of each party
3. the distribution of marital property
4. the duration of the marriage and the respective health of each party
5. the present and future earning capacity of each
6. the ability of the party seeking maintenance to be self supporting and his or her lost earning capacity
When a Judge weighs these factors, he or she must also consider the need for the paying partner to maintain a separate household as well as to have sufficient monies to live on after deducting the award. When this is not considered, an appellate court will reverse an award, and send the case back to the lower court to recalculate the award.
Your attorney must be certain to submit financial records for the lower court to accept your request for support. Making generalized statement of these facts will not support your demand. Only bank statements, tax returns, and employment W-2 statements, will do and place the other side on the defensive, and the burden to reveal all of the financial documents within his or her control. If the decision rendered by the court is far less favorable than you requested, then it is certain that insufficient evidence in documentary form, was not or insufficiently presented. Being forthright and honest, and not trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the court, will go a long way in receiving a favorable outcome. The more time you will spend with your attorney will enhance such end.