Maintenance order for no monthly maintenance, but instead a percent of any bonus failed both the support and fairness objectives. The order created an “unquestionable disparity” between the standards of living of the parties as the commission bonuses were variable and uncertain. (Not published, but citable)
Trial court erroneously exercised discretion in terminating maintenance after three years in a 24 year marriage where the wife had significant injuries from a car accident and there was a substantial differential in income. Former wife was entitled to indefinite maintenance.
Fifteen (15) year maintenance award in thirteen (13) year marriage affirmed as a proper exercise of discretion. Length of maintenance can exceed length of marriage.
(1) Maintenance can be percentage of bonus (2) Maintenance can be based on income as of time of divorce (3) Court can consider standard of living parties could anticipate if they stayed married (4) Maintenance can exceed wife’s budget (5) Court cannot consider misconduct.
No abuse of discretion in ordering 8 years of maintenance in 25 year marriage – no abuse of discretion in refusing to find that wife is intentionally underemployed and does not use her ability to become self-supporting.
(1) Court failed to individualize high standard of living. (2) Court erred in failing to consider wife’s savings and investment plans in her budget. (3) Court failed to consider wife’s non-economic contributions to the marriage. (4) Wife entitled to share in good fortune and elevated income. (5) Court must start maintenance analysis with 50-50 division of income.
No error found in awarding wife 40% of husband’s income.
Maintenance award allowing wife to be a full time homemaker was reasonable.
(1) No abuse of discretion in granting unlimited maintenance where court noted custodial responsibilities for children and ensuring an adequate retirement. (2) Mention of disability of adult children by court when deciding maintenance was not error.
(1) Factors in determining maintenance are support in accordance with needs and earning capacities and to ensure fair and equitable financial arrangements between the parties. (2) Goal of maintenance is to provide support at pre-divorce standards of living and may require more than subsistence needs. (3) When couple has been married many years and achieves increased earnings, it is reasonable to use equal division of total income as starting point.
Maintenance is not based solely on need – it is not limited to those situations where a spouse cannot support his or her self.
Starting point for setting maintenance is 50% of joint income.
$200 per month maintenance for 18 months was not sufficient – it does not cover the minimum expenses of maintaining the household and supporting the children.
Investment allowance added to wife’s permanent alimony award affirmed. Parties had a lavish lifestyle and invested monthly in a retirement fund. Alimony can exceed identified expenses.