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The law defines spousal support as money that a legally married spouse pays to the other spouse while they are still married. If the spouses are still married, one may be able to request temporary spousal support.
After spouses get divorced, one spouse may be required to pay the other spouse post-divorce spousal maintenance. The amount and duration of the support payments are determined by using a formula and several other factors. In most cases, there is a time limit on post-divorce maintenance, which is also calculated using a formula. However, there are times when lifetime support payments may be mandated.
The primary purpose of maintenance is so spouses can continue to maintain a similar lifestyle they had before the divorce. In many circumstances, temporary and post-divorce spousal support is essential for individuals to regain skills that are needed to be financially self sufficient.
Temporary maintenance is also known as pendente lite and is paid before the divorce is final. Temporary maintenance is provided to a spouse who is in immediate financial need. When an individual is issued with temporary maintenance, it will end when the divorce is final.
After a divorce is final, post-divorce maintenance will begin and will end by the death of one of the individuals, when the supported spouse gets remarried, or if the supported spouse is cohabiting with another individual.
Guidelines for Maintenance in New York
The court uses a standard formula to calculate and determine the amount of maintenance that should be awarded. The formula that is used to calculate the amount is based on the incomes of the spouses. The formula was designed to maintain consistent and fair award amounts.
There court may take certain factors into consideration when determining if a payment calculation, which is based on the formula, is just and appropriate. Some of these factors may include:
When a court finds the calculation is unfair, the court will determine a justified amount based on these factors.
Post-divorce maintenance calculations are different than temporary maintenance calculations. With post-divorce maintenance, there isn’t a fixed formula that is used to determine the amount. There are other factors that are considered such as:
Termination of Maintenance
When a court awards post-divorce spousal maintenance, it will either be nondurational or durational. Durational maintenance is set for a certain period of time, which is based on how long it will take the spouse receiving payments to become self-sufficient. Nondurational maintenance is when support payments will be made for a lifetime. Although it is rare, courts do award nondurational maintenance based on certain circumstances. An example may include an elderly spouse who is not able to find employment or a spouse that has an illness.
If you need guidance with spousal maintenance, then contact a skilled attorney who has knowledge and experience handling divorce cases. An experienced family law attorney serving the Queens are can help you better understand the process.