You must clearly understand that after your divorce, you and your spouse will not have as high a standard of living as you each had while married, especially if you are both employed at vastly different incomes.
What was the standard of living established during your marriage? "Standard of living" is basically a function of income and spending and a picture of how you lived. Your attorney must therefore first know how much money you both brought in each year and how much you spent. Again, be accurate.
Get out your checkbook register, your tax returns and your credit card statements. With that information in hand, your attorney can help you gather the information and the supporting documentation needed to address your maintenance claim.
What are your needs?
All of these special needs are expensive and many can be included in the calculation of maintenance:
o Do you have a serious medical condition which require on-going medical treatment?
o Are you learning disabled?
o Are you disabled in any other way?
o Are you receiving therapy, counseling or psychological care?
o Are you continuing your education?
o Are you a displaced homemaker?
o Will you require vocational rehabilitation before you can enter today's marketplace?
What is your medical condition?
It is possible that your attorney will need to obtain a copy of your medical records from your doctor, psychologist, therapist or other provider to prove your claim for maintenance.
Why to ask for maintenance?
o Disparity of income and length of marriage which requires rehabilitation money to the disadvantaged spouse.
o Special circumstances during the marriage requires maintenance.
o Physical, mental or emotional disabilities which requires maintenance.
What is temporary maintenance?
Temporary maintenance is money paid while your case is pending. You and your spouse can decide how much that will be, or, if no agreement can be met, the court will decide at a hearing. By definition, this type of maintenance ends when the divorce becomes final or sooner if so ordered by the Court.
It is important that your list of monthly living expenses be as complete as possible at your temporary maintenance hearing. During your trial, the court will use that list of expenses, among other factors, in determining whether permanent or rehabilitative maintenance is appropriate.
It is difficult to convince the court that your permanent expenses are significantly different (either less or greater) than those you listed for your temporary maintenance hearing.
What is rehabilitative maintenance?
Rehabilitative maintenance is money paid by one spouse to the other, usually in a relatively short-term marriage. This is paid with the specific purpose to help the financially disadvantaged spouse get the training necessary to support himself or herself. In Indiana, it cannot last for more than three years.
Rehabilitative maintenance is often used to finish a college degree or gain specialized training in order to assist the disadvantaged spouse in becoming self-sufficient.
What is permanent maintenance?
Permanent maintenance is just what it sounds like. It is maintenance paid by one spouse to the other for life. In this day and age, it is the exception rather than the rule.
Most lawyers agree that they rarely see permanent maintenance paid unless the spouse is disabled and the marriage was very lengthy.