Queens Divorce Laws: Spousal Maintenance, Part I

  • Posted on: Aug 20 2015
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When divorcing in the state of New York, it is up to the court to determine if spousal maintenance, also referred to as alimony, will be rewarded. Spousal maintenance differs from spousal support in that maintenance is paid after the divorce, and support is paid while the couple is still married. 

Spousal maintenance can be awarded to either party, and may be set for life or for a specific period of time; in most cases, spousal maintenance is only awarded for a pre-determined number of years. 

To make the decision in Queens divorces, the court examines 20 different factors: 

Income and property of each spouse
The court takes into consideration how the marital property will be divided between the couple. If one party is receiving a significant amount of the property to be divided, that party may be rewarded a lower alimony amount. Additionally, if that party has other sources of income or property – such as an inheritance – they may also be rewarded less spousal maintenance. 

Marriage Length
Longer marriages, particularly those where one party stayed home with children, are frequently rewarded with higher maintenance amounts. 

Age and Health of Divorcing Couple
If the spouse seeking spousal maintenance is of poor health or older, they are likely to be awarded a higher amount of maintenance. 

Earning Capacity of Both Parties
When deciding if a party should be awarded spousal maintenance, the court will look at the past and future earning capability of both parties. If the spouse seeking maintenance is deemed able to receive the education or employment necessary to become self-supporting, the maintenance period awarded will be shorter. If the spouse is, for age or other reasons, unable to become self-supporting, the term will be longer. 

Spouse Training and Education Expenses
The state of New York will award the receiving spouse enough maintenance to allow them to become self-supporting. The amount of training and education the spouse needs will determine the length and amount of maintenance awarded. 

The Presence of a Joint Household before Marriage
In determining the length of a joint household between the divorcing parties, the court can determine the length of the marriage, which plays a role in determining maintenance amount and duration. 

Acts that May have Prevented the Other from Getting a Job
Looking into any acts by one spouse on the other that may have inhibited them from getting a job allows them to evaluate if domestic violence or other spousal misconduct was present. 

Time and Training Required for Spouse to Become Self-Supporting
As previously mentioned, spousal maintenance will be awarded until the party seeking assistance can become self-supporting. 

Child Living Arrangements
If the children live with one parent, the court will need to determine if child support alone can cover the expenses of the home and children. If the amount of child support is not enough, an additional spouse maintenance amount may be awarded. 

Additional Child Expenses
Expenses such as school tuition, day care, and the children’s medical expenses will also play a role in the amount of spousal maintenance awarded. 

For help determining if you or your spouse qualifies for spousal maintenance, contact a Queens divorce attorney at FK Law Group. 

FK Law Group helps individuals throughout Queens and New York City who need legal guidance and experienced counsel throughout the divorce process. Contact the Queens office of FK Law Group at 800-631-1757 for information about spousal maintenance and any other family or divorce law matter. 

Posted in: Divorce Law