How is Spousal Maintenance Determined?


In New York, spousal maintenance can be awarded for life or for a set period of time and, contrary to popular belief, it is also gender-neutral. In order to determine how much and for how long spousal maintenance should be awarded, the court will examine several factors. However, the couple’s standard of living will be the primary focus when determining this award.

Factors a Judge will Consider to Determine Spousal Maintenance

A vast array of factors are considered before awarding spousal maintenance in a divorce case. Courts must consider the property owned by both spouses, especially if they have other substantial resources, such as a large inheritance.

Here are some of the other factors considered when determining spousal maintenance:

  • The duration of the marriage: The longer the duration of the marriage, the more likely it is that a judge will order a larger spousal maintenance award, especially if the requesting spouse stayed home with the children and earned notably less than his or her spouse.
  • The overall health and age of both parties: If the requesting spouse is in poor health or senior in age, he or she would likely receive spousal maintenance.
  • The current and future earning power of both parties: There will be a significant amount of focus on how much the requesting spouse makes and if he or she will have the ability to be self-sufficient in the future. If it appears that the requesting spouse will eventually become self-sufficient, spousal maintenance might only be awarded for a short while.
  • The requesting party’s need for training or education: In some cases, spousal maintenance might be awarded to help the recipient pursue training or education that can ultimately result in his or her ability to become self-supporting.
  • If the requesting spouse’s ability to increase earning power is inhibited by the ongoing care of young children, adult children with disabilities, or elderly parents: If the requesting spouse must care for children or elderly parents, the court understands this would hinder his or her ability to be self-supporting.
  • If either spouse wastefully dissipated marital assets: If one spouse wasted or failed to preserve marital assets, this would have a substantial impact on spousal maintenance.

Other factors a judge will consider include the tax consequences each party would face, the contributions the requesting spouse made to his or her spouse’s career, the loss or cost of health insurance, and any other factors deemed relevant to determining spousal maintenance.

Discuss Your Case with a Top-Rated Divorce Attorney Today!

Spousal maintenance is crucial for a lower-income earning spouse after a divorce, especially if he or she cared for children while the other spouse pursued a career. At H. Benjamin Perez & Associates, P.C., our divorce team is here to provide you with the skilled legal assistance you need to help you obtain the results you deserve.

For top-rated divorce representation, contact us today at (646) 770-0989 to set up a consultation and learn more about how we can help you during this difficult time.

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