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A Guide to Receiving Maintenance in New York State

The Law Offices of Ian S. Mednick, P.C. > Maintenance  > A Guide to Receiving Maintenance in New York State

A Guide to Receiving Maintenance in New York State

A guide to receiving divorce maintenance

Most of the time, when two people get married, one will give up their former life to tend to the family. These changes can turn one’s life into a full 180, from quitting a job to being a full-time homemaker. Then comes divorce.

One reassuring thing about getting a divorce in New York State is that you will not be left alone with the negativities of ending a marriage. Maintenance is given so that the receiving spouse will not be denied the support needed to live the life they had been accustomed to.

This blog will explore maintenance in New York State, shedding light on the rules governing it and what will happen should the rules be broken.

What is Maintenance?

Maintenance is a financial support system that provides the lower-earning spouse with financial assistance pendente lite and post-divorce. This support aims to help the dependent spouse maintain a similar standard of living as during the marriage.

In New York State, there are two primary types of maintenance:

Temporary Maintenance: Also known as “pendente lite maintenance,” this type of support is provided during the divorce proceedings to help the financially dependent spouse cover their living expenses.

Post-Divorce Maintenance: Post-divorce maintenance may be awarded to the lower-earning spouse once the divorce is finalized. This support is intended to assist the recipient in maintaining their lifestyle and financial stability after the marriage has ended.

How Does the Court Calculate Maintenance?

Calculating maintenance in New York is pursuant to a calculated formula based upon the incomes of the parties.  Maintenance is capped at a combined income.  The term of maintenance and whether or not the Court will exceed the cap involves meticulously evaluating various factors to ensure fairness and equity. The court considers the following elements:

  • Income Discrepancy: One of the primary factors is the income disparity between the spouses. The court assesses each spouse’s income and earning potential to determine the need for financial assistance.
  • Duration of the Marriage: The length of the marriage is crucial in determining maintenance. Longer marriages generally result in a higher likelihood of maintenance being awarded.
  • Contributions to the Marriage: The court evaluates the contributions each spouse made to the marriage, whether financial, homemaking, or otherwise, to determine the extent of support required.
  • Health and Age: The physical and emotional well-being of each spouse is taken into account, as well as their age. This helps the court gauge the potential challenges the lower-earning spouse may face in securing financial stability.
  • Child Custody: Child custody arrangements may influence maintenance decisions if children are involved. The custodial parent may require additional financial support to provide for the children.

What Happens if the Payee Spouse Fails to Pay Maintenance?

Non-payment of maintenance can have serious consequences for the paying spouse. Failure to fulfill maintenance obligations in New York State may lead to legal actions, including contempt of court charges. In extreme cases, the court can enforce payment through wage garnishment, property liens, or even imprisonment.

When Does Maintenance Stop?

Maintenance is not indefinite; it has a set duration or specific triggering events that bring it to an end. In New York State, maintenance may cease under the following circumstances:

Remarriage or Cohabitation: Maintenance obligations typically terminate if the recipient spouse remarries or enters a cohabiting relationship in addition to holding themselves out as the spouse of the party they are cohabiting with.

Death of Either Spouse: Maintenance obligations cease upon the death of the paying or receiving spouse.

Expiration of the Specified Term: In cases where maintenance is awarded for a fixed duration, payments cease once that period concludes.

Extreme Change in Circumstances: The court may modify or terminate maintenance if there is an extreme change in either spouse’s financial or personal circumstances.

Having Trouble Concerning Maintenance? Consult an Expert Divorce Lawyer Today!