Making Sense Of Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance — sometimes still called alimony — is one of the most misunderstood areas related to divorce, but officially it is a monetary award paid by one spouse to another in order to assist with reasonable financial needs.

What spousal maintenance isn't is a process for making spouses equal; it is a rehabilitative tool to help one spouse get back on his or her feet. The goal of temporary maintenance is to prevent the less well-off spouse from falling into poverty as a result of divorce.

Have Questions Or Concerns? We Can Help.

If your divorce may involve spousal maintenance, it is in your best interest to have the counsel of a proven attorney. At the law office of Keith B. Schulefand, Esq., we offer representation from an attorney with more than 25 years of experience in this complex area of divorce. Our experienced lawyer can answer all of your spousal maintenance questions and make New York's new guidelines work for you.

What Is Temporary Spousal Support?

At the same time the New York legislature passed the no-fault divorce law, it also passed a law that provides for temporary spousal support. The law provides for temporary maintenance to a qualifying spouse while the divorce is pending and created a formula to determine the amount of support. The amount that results from the formula is presumed correct unless the payer can prove it is unfair and unjust.

The law also created a presumption that the lower-income spouse is entitled to payment of divorce attorneys' legal fees.

Check out the Temporary Spousal Maintenance Guidelines Calculator.

Am I Eligible For Permanent Spousal Support?

For the time being, permanent spousal support is still governed by the factors set out in section 256 of New York's domestic relations law. When a court is considering awarding a spouse permanent maintenance it is required to weigh factors such as:

  • Income and property of the parties
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and health of both parties
  • Present and future earning capacity of both parties
  • Ability of the party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting

Judges have a lot of discretion in awarding maintenance. The rule of thumb is that permanent maintenance will last one-third to one-half the length of the marriage — the longer the marriage, the longer the maintenance.

Contact The Law Office Of Keith B. Schulefand, Esq.

We can help you navigate the entire divorce process, including addressing the issue of spousal maintenance. Contact us today to schedule your free phone consultation with a lawyer. We represent clients in Williamsville and throughout the Buffalo area.