If you are financially dependent on your spouse, you can be understandably worried about supporting yourself after divorce. If this sounds like your situation, try to stay calm and consider your options. One option that may be available is requesting spousal maintenance.
Maintenance makes it easier for a financially-disadvantaged spouse to take care of himself or herself and become independent after a divorce. However, it is not available in every case. That said, there are some factors that affect whether the courts will award support and how much they may order.
- You were married for a long time. If you were married only a brief time, there may be less reason to award maintenance. Further, if you do receive support, the duration of the payments is longer for longer marriages. Therefore, longer marriages can lead to more maintenance.
- You have a prenuptial agreement. If you have a valid prenuptial agreement that specifies you will receive a certain amount of spousal maintenance, the courts will typically abide by those decisions.
- You established a high standard of living during your marriage. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse enjoyed a high standard of living, you could be in a position to receive more spousal support. This is because you will likely have to maintain certain expenses, including your home and family obligations.
- You left a job to take care of your family. Many times, a parent will leave a job to stay at home and raise the children. Exiting the workforce – and being out of it for a while – can make it very difficult for a person to find a job to support themselves. Additionally, raising the children may still be a person’s main priority, making it unrealistic to get another job.
- Your ex can provide for you after divorce. After you divide your property and calculate your respective income and needs, you should be able to see whether you will be able to provide for yourself. If you cannot, and your ex has enough money to continue supporting you, the courts may award maintenance to provide for your reasonable needs.
Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to requesting spousal maintenance in New York. However, there are factors like these that will affect the likelihood of an award and the amount you could receive.