Court Discusses Temporary Spousal Maintenance in New York Divorce Matters

Typically, people marry with the intent to stay together for the rest of their lives. Many marriages are short-lived, though, and last only a few months or years. Simply because a marriage does not endure for a long time does not mean that either spouse is immune from support obligations, however. This was demonstrated in a recent New York ruling in which the court rejected the assertion that a husband should no longer be required to pay pendente lite support for a marriage that lasted 16 months. If you wish to seek a divorce, it is smart to speak to a New York divorce lawyer to determine how your decision may impact you financially.

Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife married in February 2017. The couple had one child during their marriage, and the husband filed for divorce in August 2019. Resolution of the matter was delayed extensively, in part due to the husband’s failure to comply with court orders or engage in discovery and his failure to appear for hearings.

It is reported that in April 2021, the husband filed a motion asking the court to vacate a December 2020 order that required him to pay spousal maintenance, arguing that as the couple was only married for 16 months, he should not be compelled to pay pendente lite spousal maintenance 26 months after he filed for divorce. The court ultimately rejected the husband’s reasoning and denied his motion.

Pendente Lite Maintenance Under New York Law

The court noted that New York’s domestic relations law clearly dictates that in determining temporary maintenance, the court should evaluate and allocate, where appropriate, each spouse’s responsibility for the family’s expenses while an action is pending. Here, the court determined that the temporary maintenance obligation was appropriate and should remain in effect, based on the income of the parties.

The court explained that it is well known that any alleged inequities in a pendente lite maintenance award are best resolved via a speedy trial, during which the financial circumstances of the parties can be explored. The court noted that if the husband had complied with discovery in a prompt manner, the issue would likely already be settled. Further, the court found that the defendant misconstrued statutes pertaining to the duration of spousal maintenance, noting that the law in question was merely advisory and only referred to the length of spousal maintenance after a divorce. As such, the court denied his motion.

Confer with an Experienced New York Family Law Attorney

Simply because a marriage is short-lived does not mean that a party should not be granted pendente lite support during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. If you or your spouse intend to end your marriage, it is advisable to confer with an attorney regarding your rights and obligations.  Ksenia Rudyuk is an experienced New York lawyer adept at handling disputes over spousal maintenance and other family law issues, and if you hire her, she will work tirelessly on your behalf. You contact Ms. Rudyuk via the form online or at 212-706-2001 to set up a meeting.

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