When married couples decide to divorce, there are many factors that need to be considered. One of these factors is spousal maintenance, which is also commonly known as alimony. Unlike child support payments, there are no statutory guidelines regulating how spousal support is calculated. This allows a vast amount of room for discretion. Spodek Law Group has experience in handling both sides. If you want to obtain a maintenance award or if you are seeking to protect your income, our attorneys have the skills and knowledge in handling these types of cases.
The purpose of spousal maintenance is to ensure that both individuals are supported during the divorce process and once the divorce has ended. The spouse with the highest amount of income is usually ordered to pay the lower-income spouse a designated monthly amount. Maintenance is ordered to ensure the same standard of living is available to the supported spouse. In many cases, it allows the supported spouse to acquire the necessary skills and training that may be required for the supported spouse to become self-sufficient. If both parties are able to support themselves, then spousal maintenance may not be required. Depending on your specific case, temporary or permanent spousal support may be granted.
“Pendente Lite” Maintenance is temporary alimony, and it is usually ordered in the beginning stages of the divorce. Temporary alimony is often issued by a judge for a specified period of time. Temporary alimony is usually terminated once the desired goal has been achieved or the supported party remarries. Permanent alimony is usually ordered in long-term marriages where one spouse has financially supported the other for an extended period of time. The court takes a variety of factors into consideration when determining whether or not to order alimony.
Some of these factors include:
1) How long the parties were married – An individual who has been married for a long time is more likely to obtain spousal support as oppose to a individual that has only been married for a couple of years.
2) The income of both individuals – The spouse with the higher income will likely have to pay spousal support to the lower-income spouse if the lower-income spouse can not generate enough income to support the couple’s current standard of living.
3) The ability of whether or not the receiving spouse can become self-sufficient – If the lower-income spouse is not capable of becoming self-sufficient, it is possible that that judge may order permanent spousal support.
4) Whether or not children from the marriage reside in the home – Child support payments, the number of children who reside in the home, and the age of the children can have an effect on how much spousal support the judge decides to order.
5) Any contributions that were made on behalf of the receiving spouse – Contributions made during the marriage to assist the high-income spouse may also be considered.
6) The earning potential of each party – Future earning potential may also be considered in spousal maintenance. For example, a medical school student that is expected to graduate in the next couple of months could be ordered to pay spousal support based on a medical residency salary.
7) The education of each individual – Income is not always the deciding factor when the high-income spouse has the potential to earn more money due to a college or trade degree.
8) How the couple lived when married – The courts will usually try to uphold the same standard of lifestyle that the supported party and children had prior to the divorce.
9) Loss in health insurance benefits – The cost of health insurance could possibly increase the amount of spousal support.
10) The potential tax consequences of each spouse – Future and current tax obligations are usually considered and calculated as a necessary expense.
11) A transfer of property by either spouse – Transferring property to relatives prior to or during a divorce proceeding can negatively affect the spouse that initiated the transfer.
In 2010, the state of New York implemented no-fault divorces. A no-fault divorce means that neither party has to prove any type of wrongdoing to file for a divorce. One provision of the new law dictates the parameters for temporary alimony. The guidelines for establishing temporary spousal maintenance is based on the spouse’s income, and a formula is used to determine the amount. In order for the courts to award temporary spousal support, there has to be a significant difference in income that exist between spouses. The spouse that is seeking maintenance must report income of less than two-thirds of their spouse.
The goal of our firm is to help clients through the divorce process and assist our clients in obtaining the best financial outcome. We work hard at obtaining the best possible maintenance award. For higher-income spouses, we work diligently to limit the amount of spousal support ordered by the courts.
Occasionally, one spouse will try to hide assets in an effort to pay less for spousal support. This usually happens by giving money or property to a family member or transferring money out of the country. Our law firm will work with private investigators who are experts in financial forensics, in an attempt to retrieve all assets that are not being disclosed. We will often hire experts in cases where the spouse has informed our office of assets that were illegally moved.
Our law firm has developed a reputation for determining future earnings for professional licenses that were acquired during a marriage. Spouses who provided financial support for the other spouse while attending school are entitled to receive a percentage of future earnings. Contact our office today to discover what you may be entitled to for future maintenance or in a financial settlement.
If you are currently dealing with or expecting spousal support during a divorce, you may contact us at (212) 300-5196 or (888) 977-6335 to schedule a free consultation. We are happy to answer any questions and offer an assessment of what may be expected during the divorce. We work with clients all throughout the state of New York including but not limited to Manhattan, Bronx, Long Island, and Queens.