Although many of us understand the basic idea of alimony, one spouse paying the other after a divorce, many of us don’t truly grasp the process that goes into calculating the alimony. If there should be any alimony that should be awarded, it is important to obtain a real understanding of the process of obtaining alimony. In the state of New York, we refer to alimony as maintenance.

The real purpose of awarding alimony is to ensure that spouses who are not the primary ‘”breadwinners”, the spouse who is not supporting the family financially, can continue to live the way they did prior to the divorce, or at least a similar enough lifestyle. This also allows the spouse to start preparing to provide for him or herself, which often requires going back to school to obtain a degree, or go through some training, all in an attempt to be “self-sufficient” from then on.

Maintenance isn’t always after the divorce. Pendente Lite is a temporary alimony that is paid during the divorce case and helps to cover any financial needs that the supported spouse may have. This is often awarded after an examination of the pre-divorce standard of living. When the divorce is finalized, pendente lite is over.

Furthermore, post-divorce maintenance can be awarded after the divorce action and can be finite. The death of either spouse or the remarriage of the spouse receiving support, or even if the supported spouse is living with someone, can terminate this maintenance.

Alimony would be based on both spouses’ incomes. Pre-divorce lifestyle will also be taken into consideration.