In a dissolution of a long-term marriage where there is a difference in the spouses' income, it is possible that the higher earning spouse may be required to pay spousal maintenance, formerly known as alimony. Whether maintenance should be paid depends on a number of factors including the income and needs of the parties, realistic earning potential, duration of the marriage, the age, health and education of the parties, and the standard of living established during the marriage. Under an early version of the maintenance statute, once the court found that maintenance was appropriate, it had broad discretion in setting the amount and length of maintenance. It made it incredibly difficult for attorneys to predict maintenance outcomes for their clients.
Benjamin Franklin is attributed to have said in regard to permanency that "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes". Now little can be done about death, but taxes may not be as permanent as you think. There is a common misconception amongst Bankruptcy clients that income taxes cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Often times this fear presents itself when someone operates a small business that fails leaving significant tax debt. Years later they are still trying to make payments or have turned to one of those fly by night tax helplines you see advertised in the middle of the night on television. It would seem that the tax debt disrupts sleep, because the commercials seem to be exclusively in the middle of the night. Well stop pacing your halls and get some sleep because relief through the bankruptcy process is available in certain circumstances for debt owed the government for taxes.