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How spousal maintenance is handled in a high asset divorce

Just like every individual is unique, every marriage is unique due to the different qualities and assets that each individual brings to the marriage. So, it is also follows that each divorce is unique as well.

There are different issues that must be resolved in a divorce. How these issues are resolved depends on the unique circumstances of the marriage. One issue that can vary dramatically from divorce to divorce is asset division and spousal maintenance. These can be very complex in high asset divorces and somewhat of a non-issue in divorces with few assets.

Spousal maintenance, for instance, is based on a number of different factors and the amount and duration vary. However, in high asset divorces it can be a very significant issue, especially if one spouse earned most of the money. The income earning spouse could be ordered to pay a very large amount, depending on the lifestyle the spouses enjoyed during the marriage.

However, it is not as simple as just ordering one spouse to pay the other because they earned more money. The court must look at the length of the marriage, the spouses' ages, each spouse's earning capacity, how long it would take a spouse to begin earning income based on their education level and experience and a number of other factors. After analyzing all of these factors, a judge could then decide both the amount of spousal maintenance and how long they will have to pay the other spouse.

There are many divorces in New York each year and each present their own complexities. However, high asset divorces create complexities that simply do not exist in divorces with fewer assets. One issue that can arise in high asset divorces in spousal maintenance, which can be a complex and contentious issue.

Source:, "Maintenance (Spousal Support)" accessed on Sept. 25, 2017

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