In New York, "maintenance" is the money paid during and after a divorce to help support the non-moneyed spouse and to ensure that he or she does not fall into poverty because of the divorce.
Often, one of the spouses abandoned their education or career to stay at home and care for the couple's children and household. The court values these contributions, even if they weren't financial.
Maintenance not only ensures that the stay-at-home parent or homemaker maintains the same standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, it's the court's way of allowing supported spouses the time necessary to gain the skills needed to become "self-sufficient."
Three Types of Maintenance
There are three main types of maintenance in New York: 1) pendent lite, 2) durational, and 3) nondurational.
- Pendent lite or temporary maintenance it is often awarded in the beginning of a divorce and is meant to help the supported spouse pay for their basic living expenses until a final award for maintenance is issued.
- "Durational" maintenance is paid for a limited time, usually until the supported spouse becomes self-supporting.
- "Nondurational" maintenance, otherwise known as lifetime maintenance is a less common arrangement, but it's still on the books. This type of maintenance is paid for the rest of the supported spouse's life. Though rare, this may be seen in cases where one of the spouses is elderly and unlikely to support themselves to due age, illness or a disability.
When does maintenance terminate?
Temporary maintenance ends when the judge issues a final maintenance order.
If the paying spouse wishes to terminate durational maintenance because their ex has become self-sufficient, or because they moved in with a new romantic partner, then the paying spouse will have to convince the judge that such changes have taken place.
Nondurational maintenance can terminate for any of the following reasons:
- Death of the supported spouse
- Death of the paying spouse
- The supportive spouse remarries
- The supportive spouse moves in with a new partner (cohabitation)
If you are interested in learning more about maintenance in New York, contact a Nassau County divorce attorney from Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C.!