Parents should provide support to the other spouse until both become self-sufficient and independent
Spousal maintenance are agreements where one of the parties provide financial support. Agreements that provide financial support for a limited time until both sides are able to support themselves are recommended. This type of maintenance is known as non-permanent and it can help both parents to become more empowered. Permanent spousal maintenance is where the agreement is to continue providing financial support indefinitely, which can cause dependency.
Becoming self-sufficient and financially independent of the former spouse is important, as long as it does not negatively affect the children.
What practitioners say
Consistent with literature search:
Quantify income levels. Make sure to create an inventory of the declared income levels, assets and contributions of the man and woman in order to be able to reach fair agreements.
Consider non-monetary contributions. For calculating spousal maintenance, consider non-monetary as well as monetary contributions.
Involve a neutral third party. A neutral practitioner can help to assess the income support level that is needed.
Parties should help each other financially. The party with better financial standing should support the other – taking the interest of the child into consideration.
Other suggested practices:
Involve others who know the situation. Involve extended family, local leaders or other appropriate community members to provide insight.
Local leaders can help enforce agreements. Local leaders such as religious leaders and elders can help to enforce agreements, especially if there’s a breach.
Resources and Methodology
- Non-permanent spousal maintenance:
- Rehabilitative spousal maintenance
- Limited duration spousal maintenance
- Permanent spousal maintenance
- Jean van Houtte and Corinne de Vocht, The Obligation to Provide Maintenance between Divorced Husband and Wife in Belgium (1982)
- Cynthia L. Greene, Alimony is Not Forever (1988)
- Constance. L. Shehan, Alimony: An Anomaly in Family Social Science (2002)
- Twila B. Larkin, Guidelines for Alimony: The New Mexico Experiment (2004)
- Where the recipient abandoned her job and career to fulfill the expected, traditional roles of a mother, wife and hostess… (as cited in Greene, p. 13)
- Where there are minor children under the age of five and it is not practical for the recipient to generate income in excess of work-related child-care costs, or both parties are committed to one parent remaining home with the child(ren) (Larkin, p. 53).