In New York spousal support or “maintenance” (formerly called “alimony”) is
defined as the payment of money from one spouse to another under a court order or written agreement for living expenses. The object of maintenance is to provide support while the recipient spouse gains the necessary skills and employment to be self-sufficient. Court’s consider the pre-separation standard of living, duration of marriage, sacrifice of career by recipient spouse, earning capacity and supporting spouses ability to pay. Maintenance is taxable to the recipient and tax deductible to the paying spouse.
After the commencement of an action and prior to trial a party may seek an award
of temporary maintenance from the court. This is called “pendente lite” maintenance. Pendente lite awards seek to maintain the status quo while the action is pending and usually result in the monied spouses’ payment ofthe carrying charges of the marital home and normal and customary living expenses These temporary awards terminate upon the resolution of the case and are, if appropriate, replaced with a final order of maintenance.
Unlike child support, there is no set formula for maintenance. Accordingly, in order
to determine a final award of maintenance the courts consider the following factors set forth in Domestic Relations Laws §236-B(6):
the income and property of the respective parties including marital property distributed pursuant to equitable distribution;
the duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties;
the present and future earning capacity of both parties;
the ability of the party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting and, if
applicable, the period of time and training necessary therefor;
reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance as a result of having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities during the marriage;
the presence of children of the marriage in the respective homes of the parties;
the tax consequences to each party;
contributions and services of the party seeking maintenance as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party;
the wasteful dissipation of marital property by either property;
any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration; and
any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.
Maintenance payments are made at fix intervals for either the lifetime of the spouse
or a fixed period of time.