When a couple divorces, the court will decide whether to grant spousal maintenance, which is court-ordered money paid to support one given spouse. What used to be referred to as alimony, the purpose of spousal maintenance is to help the receiving spouse become financially independent after a divorce. Spousal maintenance is gender-neutral, and courts do grant spousal maintenance to both men and women, depending on the circumstances. Spousal maintenance is ordered by the Supreme Court in a divorce action.
When deciding on spousal maintenance in New York, courts primarily focus on the couple’s property, the income of each spouse, and the standard of living while married. To set the amount and duration of spousal maintenance, the court must consider the following factors:
Since October 26, 2015, New York has had a presumptive formula to decide how much spousal maintenance should be paid. Spousal maintenance is set by a math formula, based upon each spouse’s income. It can be calculated on the NYS court system’s website at http://www.nycourts.gov/divorce/calculator.pdf.
Whenever there is an issue about spousal maintenance in a divorce case, each spouse must make a complete disclosure of their financial state to the other spouse, including a statement of the spouse’s net worth. A court can grant temporary spousal maintenance while the case is pending. The court, however, is still required to follow the formula to determine the presumably correct amount of spousal maintenance.
Spousal maintenance can be “durational” or “nondurational” depending on your case. The court orders durational maintenance for a fixed time period usually in cases where the party receiving maintenance can become self-supporting after several years. In New York, the court may determine the duration of spousal maintenance by using the following guidelines:
Nondurational spousal maintenance is permanent and usually does not come to an end until either spouse dies, the remarriage of the receiving party or the recipient spouse regularly lives with a partner while demonstrating that person as a spouse.
Spousal maintenance can be complicated to understand depending on the situation. Many factors are taken into account by the court and it’s important to have a clear understanding of each aspect. Thus, it’s imperative to have an experienced family law attorney who thoroughly knows about spousal maintenance in New York. Latonia Early-Hubelbank, Esq. at Early Family Law can help you better understand how spousal maintenance and its calculated amounts are determined by the New York State courts.
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