Spousal Support Questions Answered by a Westchester County Divorce Lawyer
Commonly referred to by the former title of "Alimony", Spousal Support or Spousal Maintenance or simply Maintenance typically becomes one of the biggest and most discussed topics in divorce cases in New York State.
What is durational maintenance?
Durational maintenance is spousal support for a fixed period of time. It can either be part of a settlement or ordered by the court.
What is "permanent", "lifetime" or "non-durational" maintenance?
Not as often seen in modern divorce actions, however, it is maintenance for a period of time that is not fixed by the court. The courts will only make such an award in specific circumstances.
How is Maintenance calculated?
There are various factors that the Court must consider. These factors include: the standard of living of that each spouse was accustom during the marriage, the specific facts of the case and particularly the circumstances of each party, whether the spouse receiving the maintenance award has or is awarded insufficient property and lacks the income to provide for his/her reasonable needs, and whether the party responsible for paying the maintenance has enough property and income to provide for the other spouse's reasonable needs.
Other factors which the Court must consider in determining the amount and the duration of a maintenance award include:
- Each party's income and property including marital property distributed in the divorce.
- The length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse.
- The current and future earning potential of each spouse.
- The ability of the spouse seeking maintenance to become self supporting and, if applicable, the period of time and training required before this may happen.
- A reduction or loss of lifetime earning ability by the spouse seeking maintenance as a result of having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities during the marriage.
- Whether children of the marriage are living in the homes of each party.
- Tax considerations.
- Whether the spouse seeking maintenance contributed and provided services as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other spouse
- Whether either spouse wasted and dissipated the marital property.
- In contemplation of a matrimonial action, did either spouse transfer property or encumber property of the marriage without fair consideration.
- Any other factor which the Court shall expressly find to be just and proper.
Is there an effect on maintenance or equitable distribution if one spouse committed adultery or committed cruel and inhuman treatment?
Typically, adultery or cruel and inhuman treatment which are considered grounds for divorce, are mostly irrelevant when it comes to the distribution of marital property and the determination of maintenance. The factors considered in making a distribution of marital property and for setting the amount and time period for maintenance does not specifically mention any of the recognized grounds for divorce. However, the catchall factor may permit the court to consider "any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper".
Can a man be awarded maintenance?
Yes. The laws pertaining to Spousal Support are "gender-neutral".
Will Maintenance end if I remarry?
Yes. Remarriage will terminate Spousal Support.
Contact an Experienced Westchester Divorce Attorney
If you are involved in or comtemplating a divorce, please contact Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP. During our free consultation, we will discuss the divorce process and answer any questions that you may have about divorce.