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Temporary versus permanent spousal maintenance

On Behalf of | May 29, 2019 | Spousal Support

Spousal maintenance in New York is a complicated topic, and we at the law office of Roger G. Smith know that it may cause you a great deal of confusion. It is difficult to understand under the best circumstances, and further complicating matters, the terms and rules keep changing.

For example, you may not immediately recognize the terms “spousal maintenance” or “spousal support” because in the past it was known as “alimony.” More recently, a federal law went into effect that changed the rules regarding taxation of spousal support. Therefore, it is completely understandable that you may not readily grasp the difference between temporary and permanent spousal maintenance.

The concept of permanent spousal support is itself misleading because maintenance is not necessarily supposed to last in perpetuity. Rather, it is a rehabilitative measure intended to allow your spouse to maintain the same standard of living until he or she either remarries, dies or becomes self-supporting. Permanent spousal maintenance can endure for years but is not necessarily forever. 

Permanent spousal maintenance takes effect upon finalization of the divorce. Temporary spousal support applies in the interim during the process of negotiating divorce terms. Calculating the correct amount of temporary spousal maintenance can be tricky. On the one hand, you do not want the amount to be too much because that can remove your spouse’s motivation for finishing the case in a timely manner. Not only that, but it can also place you in financial jeopardy.

On the other hand, the amount should be sufficient to maintain your spouse’s previous standard of living and level the playing field between the two of you when it comes to negotiation of terms. More information about spousal support is available on our website. 

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