After a divorce, one spouse may be required to make monetary payments to the other spouse. These payments — which are referred to as alimony, spousal maintenance, or spousal support — were designed to ensure a person has the financial resources he or she needs to maintain a standard of living based upon the consideration of the standard of living established during the marriage.
Depending on the type of arrangement, maintenance payments can be made for a predetermined period of time or indefinitely. Maintenance payments can also be paid in monthly installments or in one lump sum. There are four main types of spousal support /maintenance arrangements in New York:
Permanent Maintenance - Permanent maintenance is to be paid indefinitely because the spouse receiving it will be unable to earn a sufficient income to maintain a reasonable standard of living because of factors such as age, disability and/or lack of education and job training. It can be modified based upon a change of financial circumstances including the retirement of the paying spouse. A terminating event can take place which can put an end to this spousal maintenance such as remarriage of the payee spouse or death of either spouse.
Terminable Maintenance - Terminable maintenance will end on a specific date after a determined number of payments are made to the payee spouse.
Rehabilitative Maintenance - Rehabilitative maintenance is only paid until the spouse receiving support has been given a reasonable opportunity to obtain the skills or education needed to become employed. This is common in divorce cases in which a spouse stayed home from work to care for children. Once the spouse receiving support is given the opportunity to become self-sufficient, the payments end.
Temporary Maintenance - Temporary maintenance can be ordered during the pendency of the divorce and one spouse will make payments until the divorce is complete and then temporary maintenance will end and permanent maintenance will then be addressed by the court.
Unlike child support, there is not a set formula for determining how much a person will pay in maintenance. Therefore, spousal maintenance must be agreed upon between the two parties in divorce through negotiation, or else it will be determined by a judge through litigation. Some factors a judge will take into consideration include:
The length of the marriage
The standard of living the couple shared during the marriage
Each spouse's current income
Each spouse's vocational skills and his or her ability to earn an income
Whether one spouse stayed home during the marriage to take care of children
Each spouse's debts and assets
The age of each spouse
The physical and mental health of each spouse
If either spouse has any special needs
How marital property was divided
Where the children live
Tax consequences of the division of property
Determining spousal support can be a sensitive issue, but it's important that an agreement can be reached that is fair to both parties. At Abraham & Jesselson Law Group, LLC, we can provide you with dedicated legal counsel to ensure you are not receiving or paying an unreasonable amount in maintenance. We can review all aspects of your divorce, how your marital property was divided, and the nature of your marriage to determine how much you should be paying or receiving.
We have extensive experience in this area of divorce law and are committed to using our resources and legal knowledge to help our clients resolve their spousal support cases in a way that provides them with the financial resources needed to maintain a lifestyle in consideration of the one they had during marriage. Contact our firm at (516) 821-0990 today for a consultation.