Spousal support is the financial support that exists between spouses for the time they are legally married. One spouse – the one who earns more money – provides a certain amount of financial support to the other, and this support lasts indefinitely, even if the spouses are separated.
When a couple proceeds to divorce, which, in New York State, is handled and finalized by the state Supreme Court, any pre-existing spousal support arrangement ends once the divorce becomes final unless the judgment mandates that financial support continues. Spousal support payments made while a divorce judgment is pending are referred to as temporary maintenance. Once a divorce becomes final, that support then becomes maintenance, also known as alimony.
The legalities surrounding both the requests for and calculations of, spousal support and maintenance can be complicated. To start the process to request spousal support, the party requesting support must first file a support petition. He or she must also complete a financial disclosure and provide documentation pertaining to their income and taxes. The other spouse must then be served the petition along with a financial disclosure form which they will complete and a summons to appear in Family Court.
If you find yourself in a position to either receive spousal support/alimony, or you are the party subject to paying spousal support/alimony, you would do well to solicit expert legal advice from a qualified New York State family law or divorce attorney who will work to make sure your payments are no more, or less, than required by law.
Lance Meyer, Esq., and the entire staff at Law Office of Lance H. Meyer provide legal support in all matters pertaining to spousal support and spousal maintenance. We understand and appreciate the impact an order of spousal support/alimony can have, and strive to ensure our clients’ best interests are represented at all times.
If you are located in the greater New York City & Long Island Area or in Suffolk or Nassau County on Long Island, contact our office and arrange for your complimentary consultation with our divorce attorney today. We take the time to learn about you and your marriage or divorce circumstances, and then explain the legal requirements that are relevant to your situation.
How Is Spousal Support/Maintenance Calculated?
A judge who is tasked with calculating how much maintenance one spouse must pay to another, and for how long, must rely on payment calculation formulas set forth in the New York State statutes. In addition to income and earnings, the judge may take other factors into consideration, such as:
- How long the couple was married – The number of years a couple was married can be used when determining how many years alimony must be paid. As a general rule, the longer a couple is married, the more time alimony payments must be made.
- The earnings potential of each spouse and ability to support him-/herself and their family – A spouse who has not worked for a number of years and/or needs specific training or education to return to the work force may need alimony to help pay for this training. Or, parental obligations may mean one spouse is unable to fully return to the workforce and therefore require alimony.
- Each spouse’s age, physical ability, and physical health, as well as their mental and emotional states, may factor into alimony payment requirements.
- The home and lifestyle of the couple and their respective contributions to that lifestyle.
Earnings amounts used to calculate payments are capped, and payment calculators get updated as laws and statutes change. Of course, maintenance payments end when the other spouse either dies or remarries. In all cases, however, the judge has discretion to either allow or disallow certain factors when determining a maintenance case.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for My Alimony Case?
More than anything, a court judge considers two key factors when determining alimony: 1) the ability of the paying spouse to make maintenance payments and 2) the ability of the other spouse to support him- or herself. An experienced divorce lawyer will dig deeper to understand the full context of a marriage and present other factors that may mitigate a judge’s decision one way or another.
Divorce and the ensuing spousal maintenance case can be very emotional for all parties involved. The spouse who will be paying maintenance may feel as though he/she is being treated unfairly in terms of the amount they are obligated to pay. The spouse receiving the alimony may feel the amount is insufficient to allow him/her to live at the same lifestyle to which they were accustomed when married. Family law attorney Lance Meyer understands. He has successfully represented clients on both sides of the alimony equation, and is well qualified to represent your case. His goal at all times is to minimize your stress while also vigorously advocating for your full legal rights.
Anyone who is seeking spousal support or alimony needs a competent, experienced, family law attorney to work through the complexities and variations of the law so the outcome is fair to you. The Law Office of Lance H. Meyer serves the greater New York City & Long Island Area, including the five boroughs, Westchester, and Long Island.
Attorney Meyer is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Nassau County Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. We offer a complimentary consultation to get to know you, and so you can learn about us. Our fees are reasonable, and we offer discounts to military veterans, police officers, fire fighters, court officers, New York State court employees, and New York State teachers.