First off, you may not need to have a court decide whether or not there will be maintenance (also called alimony). You and your spouse may be able to arrive at a decision yourselves and file it with the court. It is in the event that this cannot work out that a court will come in to decide for you. There a number of things which a New York court will examine, and they may not all be included here. Each case is unique, so be sure to consult with your divorce attorney to understand how the process could work for you.
As a general rule, a court will look at the income and assets of each spouse, and at how long the marriage lasted. A judge will also need to consider the physical well-being of each spouse, how old they are and what each one's health conditions is. The current salary as well as the expected future earnings of each spouse will be factored in, as will the earning capacity of each spouse. So if a spouse traded in a career to stay home to be with the children, the court may be inclined to order maintenance until that spouse can reenter the workforce. This could entail paying to finish school or to get professional training.
Dissipation of property will also be considered. For example, if one spouse racked up serious gambling debt, the judge can use this in an assessment of whether or not there should be maintenance. A court will also look at whether either spouse will miss out on benefits such as health insurance due to the divorce, and how maintenance would hurt either spouse come tax season.
If one spouse engaged in fraud, such as trying to hide assets, then this will enter into a court's judgment as well. If one spouse kept the other from getting a job (such as through domestic violence), then a court will definitely have this weigh in on the decision. As a rule, however, marital fault does not enter in on a judgment for maintenance. Domestic abuse, adultery, and imprisonment will not usually factor in financial rulings, though of course, there have been exceptions to this stance before.
Not only is divorce law complex, but the related laws can vary from case to case. When you have questions about your divorce, you may be able to find the answers you need at the Meyers Law Group. An experienced Long Island divorce lawyer from our firm can also provide the outstanding legal representation that you deserve. When you are facing issues in maintenance, or any aspect of divorce, do not hesitate to contact our firm immediately.