Spousal maintenance isn’t just an option for women in New York

Posted by Lauren S. CohenMar 18, 20210 Comments

Modern marriages are more equitable than those in generations past. Both spouses are more likely to contribute to the household finances and to do its necessary upkeep. It's also true that men have become more involved in the task of parenting children than their fathers may have been.

Some couples have even turned the traditional gender roles on their head, with the woman deciding to stay at work after the birth of a child while the husband stays home to care for the children and their house. If she earned more than you, it may have made sense from a financial standpoint to give up your income rather than incur the costs of child care.

If you left the workforce to let your wife pursue her passion and career, you may not be in a position to support yourself if you divorce. Thankfully, the alimony or spousal maintenance laws in New York can apply to either sex.

Spousal maintenance does not focus on your label as husband or wife

The laws about New York marriages are largely gender-neutral. The state doesn't refer to the sex of either party or their role as husband or wife when discussing factors like the division of custody, how to split up marital property and support paid for the children or the spouse. Both spouses have the same theoretical rights and obligations under the law.

A dependent spouse who contributes to the household through their unpaid labor has the same rights regardless of whether they are a father or a mother. If you decided to become a stay-at-home dad, an increasingly common decision for fathers, you have the right to ask for spousal maintenance as you try to become independent and re-enter the workforce.

Many factors influence how the courts structure spousal maintenance

Those in need of maintenance often hope to figure out how much they can receive as early as possible so that they can budget for their future needs. However, spousal maintenance leaves a lot to the discretion of the judge overseeing your case.

Unless you have a marital agreement that discusses maintenance, factors ranging from your health and work history to your spouse's current ability to pay you will influence how much spousal maintenance you can expect to receive during and after a New York divorce.