Can a Spouse Get Maintenance if They Work?

If you live on Staten Island and you are headed towards divorce, certainly you’re going to have a lot of questions. What should you do with the house? What will happen to the children (where applicable)? Can the lower-earning spouse be awarded spousal support and maintenance if they have a job? These are all very good questions indeed.

For the purpose of this post, we are going to address whether a spouse can receive spousal support and maintenance if they work. We decided to dedicate a post to this because this question comes up frequently.

For starters, let’s take a look at the difference between spousal support and maintenance in New York. Spousal support is paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse while the divorce is pending in the courts. Maintenance on the other hand, is money a husband or wife pays to their ex-spouse after the divorce is finalized.

Some people refer to maintenance as alimony or spousal maintenance. A lower-earning spouse may be able to get spousal support and maintenance, even if they have a job. However, it all depends on the lower-earning spouse’s need for financial support, and the higher-earning spouse’s ability to pay it.

Will I Be Ordered to Support My Ex?

Suppose your spouse works full-time; you may be wondering, “Will I have to pay spousal support and maintenance even though my spouse has a job?” It depends on how much your spouse earns, and how much income you’re bringing in.

For example, if your wife earns $35,000 a year working full-time, and you earn $200,000 a year, there is a strong possibility that you will be ordered to pay spousal support and maintenance. The reason for this is because there is a big discrepancy between the two incomes.

On the other hand, if you and your wife both earn about the same each year, the chances of you being ordered to pay spousal support and maintenance are significantly lower. Whether you are the husband or the wife, if your income is significantly higher than your spouse’s, there is a strong possibility that you will be expected to help financially support your ex, at least temporarily.

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