The goal of a fair maintenance agreement is to ensure the supported spouse is able to maintain his or her current lifestyle following the divorce. When a couple divorces, one spouse is often responsible for contributing to the financial well-being of the other spouse. Many states refer to these payments as alimony, but in New YorkState, these payments are called maintenance. A fair maintenance agreement refers to the arrangement between spouses regarding these payments.
Maintenance agreements can be permanent or temporary, and in some cases, they are in place until the supported spouse gains self-sufficiency. Temporary maintenance can be in place during the course of the divorce and shortly after it is finalized. This type of maintenance is known as Pendente Lite maintenance. Once each spouse is settled in his or her new life, a final order of maintenance is put in place. This is called the final order of maintenance. It can be durational, which assumes the supported spouse will eventually be self-sufficient, or it can be non-durational, which means it continues for a lifetime. Death, remarriage, and co-habitation of the supported spouse can also effect the duration of maintenance.
What Do Courts Consider When Determining a Fair Maintenance Agreement?
There are several factors that play a role in the creation of a fair maintenance agreement. These include:
- Pre- and post-nuptial agreements
- Current income of each spouse
- Property owned by each spouse
- Age and health of each spouse
- Length of marriage
- Capability of each spouse to earn in the future
- Role and contribution of each spouse in the marriage
- Custody and care of children
- Health insurance arrangements
- Tax consequences of maintenance agreement
- Any other factors that play a role in the financial well-being of either spouse
In most cases in New York State, marital fault does not play a role in the creation of a fair maintenance agreement. Only under extreme circumstances in New York courts is fault, such as abuse, used to determine the financial arrangement of a divorced couple. Feel free to contact our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your divorce and coming to a Fair Maintenance Agreement in New York State.