A maintenance award could make divorce a possibility

Even if you are miserable in your marriage, you may worry you would not be able to support yourself after a divorce. Before you resign yourself to staying in your unhappy relationship, evaluate whether you couldĀ receive alimony.

New York statutes refer to alimony as maintenance, and the courts provideĀ helpful guidelines.

Income factors

The first matter to consider is which spouse has the larger income. If your spouse’s income is not considerably more than yours, a judge may determine he or she does not have to pay maintenance.

The length of your marriage is another number that is plugged into the calculation. In most cases, the longer the marriage, the longer the duration for maintenance payments.

Other relevant factors

There are other factors the court can consider before deciding whether to award maintenance, and for how much.

For example, disparate earning capacity is relevant, especially if you spent a good deal of time out of the workforce to take care of the children or contribute to the marriage in other, nonfinancial ways. This includes the loss of earning potential due to putting off or forgoing education or training, or missing career opportunities.

It is also relevant if your spouse hindered your ability to find a job or accumulate experience in the workforce, or if your spouse squandered marital assets.

Other considerations include:

  • How old you and your spouse are
  • Your mental and physical health
  • Whether you can acquire health insurance on your own
  • What the tax consequences would be for you and your spouse if you receive a maintenance award
  • Standard of living you and your spouse had during the marriage
  • Whether you need education or training in order to become self-supporting

Every marriage is unique. If you have questions about maintenance, contact an experienced divorce attorney.