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The difference between spousal support and maintenance

Choosing to leave your spouse in Brooklyn and seek a divorce can be a daunting proposition, especially if you were not the primary income earner in your home. Many might tell you that in such a situation, you may be entitled to spousal support; others might say that you should receive spousal maintenance. Prospective clients often come to us here at the Arnel Law Firm thinking that both terms are used interchangeably. Yet that is not the case.

The opportunity to receive spousal support arises from New York’s Family Court Act, which states that a married person is chargeable with the financial support of their spouse. Thus, you can petition a state family court to award you spousal support while you are still married. Say that separating from your spouse also leaves you unable to support yourself. The court can then determine that in the time that you remain married (and that can include the period of your divorce proceedings), your spouse is required to pay you support payments.

Once your marriage is dissolved through divorce, spousal support payments typically end. If you still need assistance maintaining the same standard of living that you enjoyed while married, you may petition the court for spousal maintenance (this is what most are referring to when they use the term “alimony”). Such benefits can be awarded on an indefinite basis if physical or psychological limitations (or your parental responsibilities) prevent you from working full-time. Yet in most cases, spousal maintenance awards are only temporary. The court will often impose a time-limit on such obligations, during which time you are expected to learn and/or build your skill set in order to secure gainful employment.

You can learn more about spousal support by continuing to explore our site.

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Arnel Law Firm

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