One common worry a person going through a divorce may have is that they are not earning enough to be able to support themselves, and therefore are not financially independent. Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, is one way a spouse can continue to receive financial support after their marriage ends from the spouse who earns more money, so the receiving spouse has the ability to gain the skills necessary to become self-sufficient.
Though the common belief is that maintenance begins after the divorce is finalized, in New York courts can also grant temporary maintenance while the divorce case is pending. The aim of this is to provide the receiving spouse with immediate financial assistance by taking into account the standard of living the couple was accustomed to before the marriage ended. This form of support lasts until the judge makes a final maintenance order.
Where previously the temporary maintenance award was made based on the court's discretion, there are now specific statutory formulas in place for calculating it. The formula is based largely on the spouses' incomes, but if the result achieved is unjust or inappropriate in the court's eyes, it can take other factors into account. These factors include the standard of living during the marriage, the parties' health and age, and their earning capabilities.
Initiating divorce proceedings can lead to a period of uncertainty, but it doesn't have to be financially unsteady. Even though most divorces do not take long, an especially acrimonious one can drag on for years leaving a spouse financially unstable. With an experienced professional at one's side, it might be possible to get a temporary maintenance award that can reflect the party's need.