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4 common misconceptions about spousal maintenance in New York

On Behalf of | May 31, 2023 | Spousal Support

When it comes to spousal maintenance in New York divorces, myths and misconceptions abound. The misinformation often stems from hearsay, incomplete information or outdated beliefs. As a result, many find themselves grappling with unnecessary worries or making ill-informed decisions.

Below are some widespread misconceptions about spousal maintenance in a New York divorce debunked.

1. Spousal maintenance is guaranteed in every divorce

A common belief is that spousal maintenance is granted in every divorce case in New York. In reality, the court looks at the unique circumstances of each divorce, carefully evaluating various factors before deciding whether to award spousal maintenance. They include  the length of the marriage, income disparities and the financial needs of both parties,

2. Spousal maintenance lasts forever

Spousal maintenance is not always an indefinite obligation. For instance, the suggested schedule under New York law is that spousal maintenance should last 15%-30% of the length of the marriage for a union that spanned between 0-15 years. However, it is up to the court to decide precisely how long spousal support will last.

It’s important to note that the death of either spouse or if the receiving spouse remarries will terminate spousal maintenance payments.

3. Only women receive spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance is gender-neutral. It can be awarded to either spouse, regardless of gender. The court focuses on each party’s financial circumstances and needs regardless of gender.

4. Spousal maintenance payments are set in stone

Spousal maintenance orders can be modified under certain circumstances. Substantial changes in either party’s financial situation, such as job loss or a significant increase in income, may warrant a modification of the spousal maintenance arrangement.

Separating fact from fiction can provide clarity and empower individuals with accurate knowledge as they navigate the complexities of divorce and financial settlements. Therefore, having qualified legal guidance and information as you approach negotiations regarding support is wise.