Divorce and the Really High Maintenance Spouse
March 31, 2009
MN Family Law Attorney Discusses Alimony
Is $53,000 Per Week Too Much Alimony?
The wife of United Technologies Chairman George David is claiming that she requires an award of temporary maintenance (alimony) to cover her basic weekly expenses of $53,000. http://www.nypost.com/seven/12192008/news/nationalnews/really_high_maintenance_144934.htm That is $2,756,000 per year. It’s hard to put your head around that kind of money, especially if you are the one being asked to pay alimony.
In fact, in Minnesota maintenance (commonly referred to as alimony) is awarded based on a number of factors, including the standard of living during marriage. In order to decide whether to award maintenance and the amount of an award of maintenance, both husband and wife will submit proof of their income and a proposed monthly budget. The Court then balances the needs of the spouse seeking maintenance against the ability of the other spouse to pay.
How About Zero Dollars per Week Alimony?
Not all cases warrant an award of maintenance. Sometimes, the marriage is not sufficiently long such that the spouse seeking maintenance has become accustomed to a higher standard of living or has lost opportunities to be self-supporting. Sometimes, the needs of the spouse seeking maintenance are not sufficient to justify an award of maintenance. And sometimes, there is no ability to pay.
Maintenance is a highly contentious issue. In cases where maintenance is an issue, there is a much higher probability of going to trial and having a judge decide the case. Unless a monthly budget is accompanied by solid supporting evidence, such as receipts, cancelled checks or other documentary evidence, it is likely that a Judge will red-line the budget, substituting his or her own judgment for the parties’. $53,000 per week is likely to sound too high, even if it is consistent with the standard of living during the marriage.
Similarly, if the Court must examine income information, the Court is likely to base its judgment on historical information, even though today’s economic reality might indicate that historical data is overly inflated.
Your Attorney’s Job in a Divorce / Maintenance Case
The attorney’s job in a maintenance case is to give the Court less reason to disagree with your judgment about your needs and resources.
Moore Family Law, P.A.
3350 Annapolis Lane North, Suite C
Plymouth, MN 55447