As you and your spouse prepare for your divorce, you will likely have concerns about its financial impact. During your marriage, one of you might have earned most of or all your household’s income. Whichever of you – whether you or your spouse – was the higher earner will likely have to provide the other with maintenance. To determine how maintenance could affect you, you must understand how it is awarded in New York.

Types of maintenance in New York

New York recognizes two different types of support payable from one spouse to another. Spousal support is the assistance that you or your spouse may provide the other while your divorce is pending. And maintenance is any such support provided once your divorce finalizes.

Any maintenance paid after your divorce will be either durational or permanent. The court will award durational maintenance if the recipient – whether you or your spouse – is able to become self-supporting in the future. New York courts follow guidelines, based on the length of your marriage, to determine how long this type of maintenance will last. The court will award permanent maintenance if you or your spouse cannot become self-supporting. Permanent maintenance will last until one of you dies, or until the recipient remarries or cohabits with a new partner.

Factors that affect maintenance in New York

When awarding maintenance in your divorce, the court will consider many factors. These factors will relate to your marital circumstances, as well as you and your spouse’s individual needs after your divorce. Among the factors the court may weigh are:

  • The economic and noneconomic contributions you and your spouse made to your marriage
  • The standard of living you and your spouse established while married
  • The tax consequences of your maintenance award
  • Whether you or your spouse have caregiving duties that affect your earning capacity or ability to seek employment
  • Whether you or your spouse require education or training to become self-supporting
  • Your and your spouse’s age and health
  • Your and your spouse’s current and future earning capabilities
  • Your and your spouse’s income and property

It is important to understand how any maintenance awarded in your divorce could affect your financial well-being. By consulting a family law attorney, you can work to make sure the value and duration of your award are appropriate for your circumstances.