How is maintenance determined in New York?

Posted by Lauren S. CohenJun 24, 20200 Comments

Divorce is one of the most challenging events you can endure, both emotionally and financially. Not only will you and your spouse divide your assets upon splitting up, you will no longer have the security of their earnings. This may not be a big deal if you lived in a dual-income household. But you will likely feel concerned if your spouse was your household's primary or sole earner. Maintenance, though, can help you gain financial footing after your divorce.

Maintenance length depends on marriage length

New York acknowledges two different types of payment to dependent spouses. The first is spousal support, which your spouse will provide you as needed during your separation. The second is maintenance, which is effective after your divorce. The length you receive maintenance depends on the length of your marriage. If your marriage lasted:

  • Less than 15 years: Maintenance will last between 15 and 30% of your marriage's length
  • 15 to 20 years: Maintenance will last between 30 and 40% of your marriage's length
  • Over 20 years: Maintenance will last between 35 and 50% of your marriage's length

Maintenance depends on your circumstances

The amount of maintenance you receive and the duration you receive it for depend on your marriage's unique circumstances. A judge will weigh many factors when determining a fair sum and length. These include:

  • You and your spouse's age and health
  • You and your spouse's child custody and support agreement
  • You and your spouse's marital standard of living
  • You and your spouse's shares of marital property received in your divorce
  • You and your spouse's work histories and earning capacities
  • You or your spouse's need for education or training to become self-supporting
  • You or your spouse's tax consequences for paying or receiving maintenance

If you cannot meet your needs or maintain your lifestyle without your spouse's support, maintenance will help you do so until you can. An attorney with family law experience can assist you in working toward a fair agreement.