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Types of spousal support available in a New York divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Divorce

Many spouses choose to step away from their careers after getting married to take care of the household and their children, while their spouses work to earn an income to support the family. However, if the couple ends up getting a divorce, a stay-at-home spouse may be at a financial disadvantage, as it may be difficult for them to return to the workforce after being away for several years.
During divorce proceedings, New York family courts will sometimes award spousal support or maintenance to a stay-at-home spouse, or a spouse who earns significantly less than their partner. The payor spouse (higher-earner) may be expected to pay the payee spouse (lesser-earner) a certain amount each month or make a lump sum maintenance payment.
Possible types of maintenance include:

  • Temporary: Temporary maintenance is awarded from the time the divorce is filed until the final divorce order is issued by a judge.
  • Post-divorce: Support or maintenance may be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis and will be paid out after the divorce is finalized.

How do courts determine how much should be paid and for how long?

Courts generally use a specific formula, as specified by statute, to calculate both temporary and post-divorce maintenance. Calculating temporary support requires the courts to look at each party’s income and whether the payor spouse will also be paying child support.

For post-divorce support, courts will use a formula to calculate the suggested payment amount but will also consider several factors when determining maintenance. Some of these factors include:

  • Length of the marriage (longer marriages generally mean longer periods of maintenance).
  • Standard of living during the marriage.
  • Age, health, and earning capacity of each spouse.
  • Whether a spouse is taking care of a child or other family member.

The courts may decide to award spousal support for a set amount of time or award support that will continue indefinitely. In either case, these payments will typically end when either spouse dies or the spouse receiving payment remarries.

If you and your spouse earned different amounts of income when you were married, maintenance or spousal support may be a relevant issue in your divorce.