Spousal Maintenance Concerns
If you are going through divorce, you may be worried about how you are going to manage this financially. You might have heard about alimony or spousal maintenance and are wondering what exactly, if anything, you will have to pay after the divorce. Here are some common spousal maintenance concerns.
Spousal Maintenance Concerns: What is Alimony?
You may have heard the term alimony, which is a synonym for spousal maintenance. Although the term itself has not been used in the New York State law for many decades, you may still hear it, and it may be used in other states. The term is synonymous with maintenance and refers to support for a spouse.
Spousal Maintenance Concerns: What is Spousal Maintenance?
Sometimes, as you’re going through the divorce process, in talking with your attorney, friends or family, you will hear the term “maintenance,” or “spousal maintenance.” In New York State, maintenance is support for a spouse, and the court will consider a lengthy laundry list of items in determining if you are entitled to spousal maintenance.
Since January of 2016, a statutory guideline for deciding on spousal maintenance has been in place. The law contains certain recommendations that the courts are encouraged to follow when determining maintenance. Factors the courts look at include disparity in income, the length of the marriage, and certain other considerations such as your health, your age, your time in the workforce, the ages of your children, and the assets you might have after the divorce. Many considerations are considered, and maintenance is never automatic. Don’t presume that you will have to pay maintenance, or that you will receive maintenance simply because you get divorced. Maintenance is usually a consideration however, and you should discuss it with an attorney.
Spousal Maintenance Concerns: Duration of Payments
One question I’m asked is, “If my spouse has to pay me maintenance, how long will he or she have to pay?” There is no set answer, but the biggest consideration is probably the length of your marriage. The new law enacted by New York State in early 2016 sets forth guidelines based upon the duration of your marriage. As you can imagine, the longer you’re married, the longer the term of maintenance is likely to be. However, the court may also consider other factors, such as medical issues, other available assets, job history, and ability to earn income, in setting a term of maintenance.
If you have any further spousal maintenance questions, please contact the law office of Buffalo divorce attorneys Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C. for a free consultation.