There are several different types of maintenance that the court can award. You have temporary maintenance, which is maintenance for a specific period of time, sometimes with a review. This temporary maintenance is often known as rehabilitative maintenance. Rehabilitative maintenance is where someone who maybe needs a skill or needs to complete their educational background will receive some maintenance for a period of time, until such time that they complete that vocation or trade. The belief is that with a temporary or rehabilitative maintenance, the person can get back on their feet and start to be self-supportive after a short period of time.
Permanent maintenance is lifetime maintenance, but usually subject to the statutory termination of events. You will see permanent maintenance in long-term marriages where there is a huge disparity in income, and where a person typically forewent the ability to earn income in lieu of raising a family and staying home. Permanent maintenance is very common in marriages over 20 years or in marriages where the income of the parties is so different that the person requires support on a permanent basis. Once again, the length of the marriage is a key factor.
Another form of maintenance is maintenance in gross, which is a set amount of maintenance paid in one or more installments. Maintenance in gross is taxable to the recipient and deductible to the payer. Maintenance in gross can be paid off over a course of several months, or it could be paid in one lump sum.
The other form of maintenance is maintenance for a fixed period of time, which kind of comprehends together temporary maintenance and maintenance in gross, so maintenance for a fixed period of time could be 24 months, 48 months, possibly with a reviewable period thereafter. The reviewable period thereafter is for someone to come back into court and seek additional maintenance or continuation of the maintenance, because circumstances have not led that person to be self-supportive at the present time.