Dedicated Rochester Divorce Lawyer Explains Spousal Maintenance vs. Spousal Support
Spousal maintenance, sometimes referred to as alimony is a form of payment paid to one spouse to the other for a pre-determined period of time following a divorce. The amount of spousal maintenance and the duration of time it will be paid is decided by the court based on a variety of factors and evidence provided by the parties. Now that we’re in 2020, many households have moved away from the traditional model of the breadwinning husband and stay-at-home wife. As a result, New York State laws have adjusted accordingly as they relate to spousal maintenance. Today, New York State Courts look at 20 factors when deciding whether to award spousal maintenance. If you or someone you love is considering or going through a divorce and have questions about whether they qualify for spousal maintenance, please contact The Cimino Law Firm today to arrange a free confidential consultation. Our divorce lawyers can help you understand your rights and ensure you receive the financial support you deserve.
Spousal Maintenance vs. Spousal Support
Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, there is an important distinction between the two. While both involve payment of money from one spouse to another, spousal maintenance is paid after completing the divorce process, whereas spousal support is paid while the couple is still married and/or while the divorce is pending. Since spouses have a legal duty to support each other in New York State, the Family Court Act allows a spousal support proceeding to move forward by a spouse that is still currently married. This is typically awarded when it is found that the couple has not yet completed the divorce process but one spouse is not meeting his or her support obligations to the other spouse.
Another key differentiator of spousal maintenance and spousal support is the amount of time it is awarded. When spousal support is awarded by the courts, there is no time limit placed on the award. This means it can last for many years unless one of the spouses petitions the court to terminate or modify the agreement. With spousal support, there is no modification of the award, it simply ends when the divorce is finalized. During the divorce proceeding, the courts will also determine and decide whether to grant spousal maintenance. Once spousal maintenance is decided on, and the divorce is finalized, all existing family court spousal support awards will be terminated.
Factors Involved in Determining Spousal Maintenance in New York
When a couple divorces, the courts will decide whether to award spousal maintenance. This can be set for a specific period of time, or have no set time limit. Spousal maintenance can be awarded to both men and women depending on the circumstances. When the courts decide on spousal maintenance, there are several factors they take into consideration when determining the amount and the duration of the award. Here are a few of the factors the courts consider when making this determination.
- The length of the marriage
- The income and assets of each spouse (including their share of the marital property as divided by the courts)
- The current and future earning capacity of the spouses
- The health and age of the spouses
- Whether one spouse has reduced or forgone their education, training or career opportunities during the marriage which resulted in reduced earning capacity.
- Whether one spouse will have difficulty reacclimating to the workforce due to age or absence from the workforce
- Extracurricular activities for the children (ie. schooling, daycare, medical expenses, sports teams)
- Health insurance costs
These are just a few of the factors the courts will consider when awarding spousal maintenance. The courts can also use their judgement and include any other factor they deem just and proper when making this determination. Since every divorce is unique, they will look at the special circumstances surrounding your situation to come up with an award that is just and fair for both parties.
Schedule A Free Consultation Today!
If you or someone you love is considering or going through a divorce, it is extremely important to have a full understanding of your spousal maintenance rights and obligations. Spousal maintenance is one of the most important aspects of a divorce proceeding. Whether you pay spousal support or you receive a monthly award, the decision will have a significant impact on your finances.
Getting the proper legal representation is critical during this process. With our help, you can agree with your spouse or provide the courts with the necessary evidence so the judge can make a fair and sound decision. Our kind and compassionate divorce lawyers in Rochester, NY will be your emotional support and your legal representation as you go through this challenging time in your life. Make the next chapter of your life the best one yet with our help.
Schedule a free consultation with our firm today to learn more about how we can represent your needs in the proceedings. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering free phone or video consultations for your convenience. Contact us today and let attorney Michelle Cimino’s 20+ years of experience work for you.
Our divorce lawyers proudly serve clients throughout Rochester including Monroe County, Orleans County, Livingston County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Genesee County, and Wyoming County.
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