Spousal Maintenance

Written by lanh ma
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Spousal Maintenance
Spousal maintenance is determined in court. (gavel image by Cora Reed from Fotolia.com)

Spousal maintenance is also called alimony and is the periodic payment made from one spouse to another in the case of a divorce. There are no statutory guidelines that lay out spousal maintenance, and because of this, the court is allowed a great deal of discretion in the parameters of the payment. Learning more about spousal maintenance may be an important part of going through a divorce procedure.


According to the Vermont Judiciary website, a court considers a number of factors when determining the amount of spousal maintenance that should be received and the period of time over which it is paid. Some of these factors include the length of the marriage, the funds and property of the person asking for the spousal maintenance, the age and physical condition of each spouse and the capability of the spouse in question to pay.

Time Frame

Spousal maintenance can be requested at any time during the divorce. However, once the divorce is final, it cannot be requested. Even after the time span and payment are decided upon; however, they may be changed if there is a change of circumstances, like a remarriage, the loss of a job or a serious change in either party's life.


Spousal maintenance is intended to ease the financial issues that might be faced by a financially dependent spouse. It provides a recourse and a safety net for a financially dependent spouse who will shortly have a reduced income or means of support.


Because there is no statutory guidelines laid out for the amount or duration of spousal maintenance, it is strongly advised that anyone requesting spousal maintenance or who is being asked for spousal maintenance consult with an experienced family law attorney.


If spousal maintenance is unwanted or unnecessary, the affected parties may decide to waive their rights to financial support in this manner. While the waiver will absolve either party of the need to make spousal maintenance payments, it does not affect the financial support of children or the authority that the court has in regard to the children involved.

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