Spousal maintenance cases are some of the most litigated cases in the context of divorce. In many instances, one party is seeking spousal maintenance, while the other party does not desire to pay it.
Next to child custody cases, spousal maintenance cases can become very acrimonious. In many of these cases, the only way to reach is a resolution is at trial.
One component that many do not realize is that the cap on the amount of maintenance that can be ordered in many states is the reasonable needs of the party seeking maintenance. The amount of the reasonable needs is often determined by what the spouse seeking maintenance divulges on their financial statements filed with the court.
While the laws vary in each state and can vary by locality, most family courts require parties to file financial statements with the court. The financial statements often require parties to list their income and their expenses.
The expenses of the party can be cumbersome to list. It can involve anything from the cost of the mortgage, utilities, food, insurance, taxes, automobile expenses and a litany of other times.
Many parties in a rush to get divorced can overlook this important step in a divorce. Some parties might forget various expenses they have on their financial statements because they are more concerned with the divorce itself.
The reality, however, is that expenses that party seeking maintenance lists is often the cap on the amount of maintenance they can seek. This is the case in a state like Missouri.
Thus, if a party has monthly expenses of $5,000 per month, the most they could receive in maintenance is $5,000 per month. If that party, however, has $2,000 per month in income, the maximum they could receive in maintenance in Missouri would essentially be $3,000 per month because they have another $2,000 per month in income.
While the analysis here is pretty straight-forward, many simply miss the simplicity of spousal maintenance. In many states, spousal maintenance can only be ordered in many states to help a party meet their reasonable needs.