Which type of spousal maintenance is appropriate for you?

Just as every marriage is unique, every divorce comes with its own specific circumstances. These circumstances affect divorce mediation, determining arrangements for parenting plans, child support, division of marital property and spousal maintenance.

Spousal maintenance—often called alimony in other states—is when the primary earner supports the other spouse for a specified period during or after the divorce. This is to ensure both spouses can continue living comfortably or at least comparably.

Types of spousal support in New York

If New York Family Court issues an order for spousal support before the couple initiates divorce proceedings, the order will end when the divorce is signed unless the divorce arrangements specify that spousal maintenance is to occur. This temporary support is called “alimony pendente lite.”

The parameters of spousal maintenance depend on many factors. Depending on these factors, the primary earner may need to support the other spouse, usually until remarriage, death or the end of the time limit set by the court.

The three types of spousal maintenance in New York are:

  1. Permanent spousal support. This is an arrangement to provide for living expenses and the basic needs of the other spouse indefinitely or until a change of circumstances necessitates a review.
  2. Rehabilitative spousal support. This is a temporary arrangement in which the higher earner provides support for the other spouse while they acquire or develop skills that will enable them to provide for themselves.
  3. Restitutional spousal support. This is a temporary arrangement in which one spouse repays the other for the support given while they were pursuing either education or vocational skills.

Your assets and income will determine which of these types of spousal maintenance is appropriate for you. If you feel you have been subjected to an unfair marital support arrangement, speak to a qualified attorney about your options.