Divorce is not only an emotional process, but it is also a financial one. Even when complex assets are not involved, it can still be challenging for spouses to sort through all the finances. And, spouses will need to develop a post-divorce budget that addresses their new financial situation. Sometimes a spouse may come to the realization that they will have a very hard time making ends meet following their divorce. Thus, some spouses in New York and elsewhere seek spousal support (maintenance) to offset the financial challenges he or she might have for the short and long-term.

When is one entitled to spousal maintenance? In simple terms, maintenance is only awarded when a former spouse can prove that he or she will not be able to meet their financial needs without the assistance from their ex-spouse. Additionally, their ex-spouse must be able to pay maintenance payments.

Depending on the situation, maintenance can be established for different durations. It can be temporary, as a means to give a spouse the time to get back into the job market. This could also help them brush up on skills, complete their education or even continue raising their children from home. On the other hand, maintenance could be permanent. This occurs when an ex-spouse may never become self-supporting, which is often due to his or her age or disability status.

No matter the reason for seeking maintenance, it is imperative that divorcing spouses understand their rights to this type of financial support. Additionally, spouses should be aware of how to address this family law and divorce issue post-divorce if there are failed payments or one seeks to modify the current order in place.