Many people expect that because they are disabled that they should receive more money for spousal maintenance in a divorce action. Disability is considered as one of 20 factors used in determining an award of maintenance. Case law has provided that disability directly affects the duration of maintenance, even though it may not have an effect on the specific amount of money to be paid to the economically dependent spouse.
Maintenance is designed by statute to be rehabilitative in nature and to provide a period of time in order that the economically dependent spouse may be sufficiently educated, trained, and experienced in order to be self-supporting. Consequently, if one spouse is disabled to the point of losing the ability to work, then the duration of maintenance will be longer than if the spouse was able to be sufficiently educated or trained. In a marriage of long duration where the economically dependent spouse is older and essentially not capable of entering the workforce, then the same logic would apply.
The judge can order maintenance until death or remarriage.
A Note on SSI Disability Benefits
If you were receiving Social Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, your payments may increase after your divorce since this is a benefit based on need. Your eligibility for this benefit is calculated based on the amount of resources available to you, which includes a portion of your spouse’s income and contribution toward your living expenses. However, you should be aware that if you are awarded spousal maintenance after a divorce, that money will be considered part of your countable, unearned income toward the SSI limit and may affect your payment amount.
Consult with a New York Divorce Attorney
Alimony laws can be complex, especially when it comes to disability, earning capacity, and a variety of other factors. If you have questions about alimony, contact Eiges & Orgel, PLLC to schedule a consultation. We would be happy to review your case and ensure that your alimony matter is resolved as favorably as possible. Serving clients with over 40 years of combined experience, we have handled thousands of cases involving even the most complex considerations. Whatever your goals, we are committed to protecting your best interests.
Contact us today to speak with a New York City divorce lawyer.