Maintenance is the payment of money from the higher wage earning spouse to the lesser wage earning spouse. It is now based on a formula. However, you still need the best divorce attorney you can find because it makes all the difference in the world how the formula is actually applied and to know all of the nuances in the new statute to get the best result possible.

There are two basic parts to the new maintenance formula: Part one is the amount of maintenance. Part two is the duration of maintenance. As far as the amount, maintenance is now based on the gross income of both parties, with total income from all sources applied. The formula takes 30% of the gross income of the higher wage earner and subtracts 20% of the gross income of the lesser wage earner, to arrive at a yearly maintenance amount. For example, if the higher wage earner earned $100,000.00 per year and the lesser wage earner earned $20,000.00 per year, the formula would be ($100,000 x 30% equals $30,000 less $20,000 x 20% equals $4,000 for a total yearly maintenance amount of $26,000). That would be how the initial calculation would be made.

For duration, the formula is based on what we call "The Rule of Fives". The higher wage earner will pay maintenance based on the length of the marriage. It is as follows:

  • One to Five Year Marriage: 20% of the length of the marriage.

  • Five to Ten Year Marriage: 40% of the length of the marriage.

  • Ten to Fifteen Year Marriage: % of the length of the marriage.

  • Fifteen to Twenty Year Marriage: 80% of the length of the marriage.

  • More than Twenty Year Marriage: Permanent or the same number of years of the marriage.

There are two other rules that apply: First, the above formula only applies if the combined gross income of both parties is less than $250,000 per year. Second, the income plus maintenance of the lesser earning spouse cannot exceed 40% of the combined gross income of the parties.

There are many other rules and provisions that apply. It is a highly complicated area of the law and requires an expert in family law like the attorneys at Murphy & Dunn, P.C.

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