In New York, there is no statute that mandates spousal maintenance after a divorce and there is no guarantee that maintenance will be awarded. However, if maintenance is awarded, the amount of maintenance and the duration of maintenance are going to be up to the court. Most people negotiate settlements in Nassau and Suffolk county, and ultimately the court is not given the opportunity to decide how much and how long on spousal maintenance. People come to agreements.
If left to decide that issue, the court will consider many factors which are stated in the law among which are the respective incomes of the parties, the duration of the marriage, the health of the parties, the ages of the parties, the future earning capacities of both parties, and other things that come into play. This is to make sure that the spouse that needs the support will have support for a reasonable amount of time at an amount that enables them to live without having to go to Social Services or utilize any particular assets and spend down all the money that they have after the divorce. Again, this is so fact and circumstance dependent, there is really no clear answer to that question. There is a general understanding that if the person is able to work and of an age that doesn’t preclude that person from working or isn’t disabled for example, that ultimately that person should go back into the workforce. We sometimes call that maintenance, rehabilitative maintenance, and ultimately that person will become self-supporting again.
Robert Pollack is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Long Island, New York. Contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free initial consultation.