The purpose of a "maintenance" (or spousal support) award is to help the receiving spouse become financially independent after a divorce.  Maintenance ends on the death of either party, or the remarriage of the receiving party, or a date specified in an agreement between the parties, or a date determined by a judge.

Factors Considered

In determining the amount and duration of maintenance the court shall consider:

(1) The income and property of the respective parties including marital property distributed pursuant to subdivision five of this part;

(2) The length of the marriage;

(3) The age and health of both parties;

(4) The present and future earning capacity of both parties;

(5) The need of one party to incur education or training expenses;

(6) The existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or a pre-divorce separate household;

(7) Acts by one party against another that have inhibited or continue to inhibit a party's earning capacity or ability to obtain meaningful employment.  Such acts include but are not limited to acts of domestic violence as provided in section 459-a of the social services law;

(8) The ability of the party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting and, if applicable, the period of time and training necessary therefor;

(9) 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;


(10) The presence of children of the marriage in the respective homes of the parties;

(11) The care of the children or stepchildren, disabled adult children or stepchildren, elderly parents or in-laws that has inhibited or continues to inhibit a party's earning capacity;

(12) The inability of one party to obtain meaningful employment due to age or absence from the workforce;

(13) The need to pay for exceptional additional expenses for the child/children, including but not limited to, schooling, day care and medical treatment;

(14) The tax consequences to each party;

(15) The equitable distribution of marital property;

(16) 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;

(17) The wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse;

(18) The transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration;

(19) The loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage, and the availability and cost of medical insurance for the parties; and

(20) Any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.
[Domestic Relations Law § 236B]

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An attorney can help protect your post-marital rights. They can help either spouse to negotiate an alimony agreement that achieves the results sought. Or they can petition a court to order or enforce the terms sought.