Maintenance, also referred to as alimony, can be ordered for two different phases of divorce: 1) during the divorce proceedings, which is referred to as “temporary maintenance,” and 2) after the divorce is finalized, which is “permanent maintenance.”
Temporary maintenance is granted by the Court when one spouse demonstrates their need for financial support during the divorce process, that is, between filing for divorce and the granting of it. The Court tends to favor the “status quo,” meaning they understand both spouses are accustomed to a certain lifestyle and that it should be reasonably maintained during the process. What is granted by temporary maintenance orders is not necessarily what will be granted under permanent maintenance.
Permanent maintenance means that the payments are part of the Permanent Final Orders issued by the Court or the Agreement that you and your spouse came up with together. Permanent maintenance does not necessarily have the same components which were granted under temporary maintenance. As well, permanent maintenance does not mean that it will necessarily be paid for the rest of the receiving spouse’s lifetime, but rather, is permanent for the duration determined by the Court.
Factors for determining maintenance (but not limited to): the length of the marriage; the standard of living established during the marriage; the value of household management, including childcare; the income level of the parties, as well as their future earning potential; the age and health of the parties.
If you and your spouse are working through your divorce together, you can determine your own, agreed-upon maintenance terms. The Court ordered maintenance occurs if there is no agreement between spouses. The Court has to honor the agreement you have mutually decided unless it is found to be “unconscionable,” meaning it is unreasonable by way of depriving one party of their entitlement.