Maintenance is a monetary award entered by a Court ordering one spouse to pay another spouse. A Court may order maintenance after a divorce proceeding or legal separation. It may also be order during the pendency of a divorce/legal separation suit. What is required for a Court to enter maintenance?
The Court may only grant maintenance if the requesting spouse (1) lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him/her, to provide for his/her reasonable needs; and (2) is unable to support himself/herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.
Determining “reasonable need” is not easy. The financial conditions of the parties needs to be illustrated clearly, and the petitioning spouse must show that based on these conditions he/she is entitled to maintenance. Once the petitioner hurdles this threshold, the Court is permitted to consider a number of factors in fixing the amount of the maintenance order.