The Difference Between Spousal Support and Spousal Maintenance
While spousal maintenance is only awarded in the event of a divorce, spousal support is awarded by family court and is often mandated while the partners are still living together under one roof. While spousal maintenance always ends by a certain date, spousal support has no expiration and will be awarded indefinitely or until a divorce is finalized.
Individuals often seek out spousal support when their financial needs are not being met by their partner. Married partners have a legal duty to support each other, so whether you and your partner are in the process of divorce or finances are simply contested, family court will often consider this grounds for awarding spousal support. Spousal support ends at the point of divorce and during the divorce proceedings, the judge will decide whether or not continuing payments in the form of spousal maintenance are warranted.
The Factors Involved in Determining Support
Courts in the State of New York consider 20 factors when determining whether or not to award spousal support. However, almost all of these factors center around the standard of living enjoyed by both partners while in the marriage and the property owned by either spouse. Examples of factors that a court takes into consideration include the comparative assets and property owned by either spouse. If either partner will receive a large amount of assets or property as the result of the divorce, any spousal maintenance awarded to that party will be diminished.
The length of the marriage and the age and health of each of the partners is also taken into account. If the marriage has only lasted for a few years or if both partners are in good health, then the amount of spousal maintenance awarded will be smaller. However, if the couple has been married for decades and one of the partners is ill, then the other partner may be responsible for a large amount of spousal maintenance. The potential for both partners to make a future income and the training time and costs to become self-sufficient are also considered. The court also takes any domestic violence into account as a factor that may hinder the victim from becoming self-sufficient.
If either partner has lost life-long earning potential due to decisions made in the marriage, including the decision to get married itself, then spousal maintenance is almost always awarded. Custody of the children and either spouses’ inability to make money due to child care concerns are also considered. How much each partner has contributed to the household, whether or not either partner has been wasteful, the cost of health insurance and any other factors that the court finds relevant will also play into how much, if any, spousal maintenance is awarded.
Setting up the Groundwork for Spousal Maintenance
While spousal support is relatively straightforward, courts considered a widely varied array of factors when determining spousal maintenance. While spousal maintenance always expires after a certain amount of years, the results of the court proceedings can affect your livelihood for a very long time. Acquiring counsel from qualified Manhattan alimony and maintenance lawyers from the very beginning of the process is absolutely critical to getting what you want out of a spousal maintenance decision.
Spousal maintenance lawyers are familiar with all of the ins and outs af spousal maintenance proceedings and can advise you on the right steps to make at the right time. They can also take a close look at your case and prepare you for what they predict your chances will be when the case comes before the court. They can also help you make sure that spousal support is fair. Contracting the services of one of these professionals is the best way to prepare yourself for the road ahead.