When New York couples who were once in love decide to end their marriage, there's more at stake than just their shattered personal relationship. The division of the property and money they have is also a major factor to resolve. One part of that resolution is deciding who gets the house, who gets the cars and who gets the stock portfolio and the money in the bank.
Additionally, there may be an award of spousal support, also referred to as alimony or maintenance. Temporary maintenance, essentially payments to cover the lesser-earning person's living expenses, are often awarded when the two former marital partners part ways but have not yet finalized their divorce. That temporary maintenance can be a way of making sure that the lesser-earning person is all right during the period between the separation and the divorce.
It may or may not be followed by an award of long-term or permanent alimony. The judge's decision about making that award, or not, is supposed to be based on specific key factors. Two of those factors are a set: whether the higher-earning person is financially able to pay alimony to the other person, and whether the other person has legitimate material needs that exceed their earning ability but could be covered in full or in part by alimony payments.
Other factors affecting alimony decisions include the length of the marriage, the ages of the individuals and the health needs of the individuals. A judge is also supposed to look at the present and future earning capacity of each individual, and whether one or both of them need further education or training to be able to sufficiently provide for them. The division of marital property and the effect of years out of the workforce to care for the couple's children also figure in.
If you want to seek alimony or you are being asked to pay alimony, your attorney can help you present your case to the court. It is ultimately up to the judge as to whether you will pay or receive alimony, but your attorney can make the process easier.