Can I Seek Spousal Maintenance?
If you are in the process of divorcing, you might be eligible for spousal maintenance. Also known as alimony, spousal maintenance is a sum of money a higher-earning spouse pays a lower-earning spouse for a specific period of time. If one spouse requires support during the divorce process, the spouse with the greater income might be ordered to pay temporary maintenance based on a specific formula.
Once the divorce is final, a judge can modify the amount of maintenance based on certain criteria. Both the amount and the duration of these payments are determined on a case-by-case basis, based on the following variables:
Need – the judge examines the cost of food, clothing, education and health care. The judge also considers if one spouse is supporting children or paying a portion of day care costs, school fees or medical expenses for a child.
Lifestyle – the judge considers the lifestyle of the couple prior to the divorce. If one spouse did not work, the judge considers that spouse's income potential and the need for further education or vocational training so that the spouse might find gainful employment. If one spouse was prevented from working via acts of domestic violence, this weighs heavily in favor of an order for spousal maintenance.
Assets and income – the judge considers the assets and income or potential income of each spouse and makes a determination based on each spouse’s ability to self-support and support the other.
Special considerations or conditions – the judge might also consider the age and health of each spouse, the duration of the marriage and any special circumstances, such one spouse's support of elderly parents, or children with special needs.
An order of permanent maintenance can last until either death or remarriage. That is up to the judge and depends on the individual circumstances of each case. If you are divorcing and wish to pursue spousal support, speak to a divorce attorney. Call the Buffalo Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis and Associates at 716.886.9600 or contact us online.