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How Employment Affects Spousal Maintenance in NY

If you are headed towards divorce, surely, you’ll be interested in learning how New York’s spousal support and maintenance laws apply to you. Will the court award spousal support and maintenance? What if the lower-earning spouse has a job, will that disqualify him or her from receiving financial support from the higher-earning spouse?

Before we go into further detail about employment and how it affects a spouse’s duty to financially support their ex-husband or wife, first let’s take a look at the difference between spousal support and maintenance.

In New York, spouses are legally obligated to financially support each other while they are married – these payments are referred to spousal support, which is paid while the couple is still married. When a court awards spousal support, it does not set an end date. Spousal support ends when the couple divorces. At that point in time, the spousal support can be converted to spousal maintenance, which takes effect only after a couple divorces.

Can My Spouse Receive Support if They Work?

Often, higher-earning spouses wonder, “Will I have to pay spousal support and maintenance if my spouse works?” It depends on the facts of the case. Suppose you’re the higher-earning spouse; if that’s the case the courts would want to know:

  • How much do you earn?
  • How much does your spouse earn?
  • Will you be paying child support?
  • What is your spouse’s earning capacity?
  • Does your spouse need financial support?
  • Can you afford to pay spousal maintenance and support?

If you earn $40,000 a year and your spouse earns $35,000 a year, you may not be ordered to pay spousal support and maintenance since your incomes are close. On the other hand, if you earn $100,000 a year and your spouse earns $30,000 a year working full-time, you will likely be ordered to pay support and maintenance because there is such a large difference in your incomes. Generally, the greater the earning gap, the higher the chances you’ll be obligated to pay spousal support and spousal maintenance.

Spousal Support & Maintenance Are Gender Neutral

In New York and across the nation, spousal support and maintenance are general neutral. This means the court can order a man or woman to financially support their spouse during and after a divorce. So, if you’re a woman who’s been supporting your husband while he stays home with the kids, the court can certainly order you to pay spousal support and maintenance. A lot has changed in the past 20 years – the courts no longer discriminate between men and women.

Need a Schenectady divorce attorney? Contact DeLorenzo, Grasso & Dalmata today to get started!