NYC Spousal Support Lawyers
Spousal support, otherwise known as a Maintenance Award, is a legal agreement to assist “the receiving spouse become financially independent after a divorce.” Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of spousal support, a spousal support lawyer can help you:
- Establish an income statement
- Define your cost of living and financial needs
- Determine whether you will be asked to pay or provided with a Maintenance Award
It’s important to note that spousal support is designed to assist one half of a marriage in regaining their independence. Spousal support is not necessarily a lifelong arrangement. In fact, there are specific times when spousal support will be terminated under the law:
- Either spouse dies
- The spouse receiving support gets remarried
- Predetermined date agreed on by former spouses or court
If at all possible, having an end date for spousal support is ideal if you are the paying partner.
How to calculate spousal support
While it would be easy if there were a spousal support calculator, determining how much support must be provided is quite the task. First, there is the consideration of whether or not there was a prenuptial agreement. If there is none, than your spousal support lawyer must investigate your marriage from the beginning. Factors your spousal support lawyer needs to consider include:
- Finances, including current income and any assets
- How long you were married
- The age and health of you and your spouse
- How much you may earn in the future
- How much your spouse may earn in the future
- The likelihood of financial independence for you and your spouse
- Barriers to enter the workforce for you or your spouse
- The established lifestyle you and your spouse had
- If you have children, where do they go to school and will they need to be transferred elsewhere
- Dependent care expenses, for children or other loved ones
- Level of financial responsibility of you or your spouse
- The future health insurance options for you or your spouse
- Any other issues that occurred during your marriage that may impact your future, regardless of ending your marriage
Putting a price tag on each item isn’t that simple. And obtaining spousal support can be a long process.
Getting out of spousal support
If you feel that providing spousal support would be a financial burden for you, there are legal protections to ensure that neither spouse is made to pay support unfairly. For example, if during the process to calculate spousal support it’s discovered that your income alone is not enough to support the cost of living for two separate individuals, the court may rule that spousal support will not be awarded. Your NYC spousal support lawyer is the person to help you navigate this issue and prevent you from paying for spousal support, should you not be able to afford it.
Spousal support is not child support
If you have dependent children, paying for child support is an entirely different legal issue from spousal support. The court may rule that you are required to pay or receive child support, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will also receive spousal support. Spousal support has separate legal requirements and is a separate legal agreement. Finding a practice that specializes in divorce law and family law may help you keep the chaos to a minimum, but in regard to the court, you must file different proceedings.
What if my Attorney Won’t Return my Calls?
Many people complain that their attorney won’t return phone calls in a timely fashion. While this is frustrating, it not usually a cause for alarm nor a good reason to fire your attorney. In most cases, lawyers do eventually return phone calls and the case proceeds as it should. However, there are some situations in which a failure to return a phone call may present a real risk to your legal case. In such situations, finding a new lawyer may be your option.
Reasons Why Lawyers Don’t Return Calls
Legal professionals are often very busy and have an obligation to manage their time carefully. Throughout the day, an attorney may be in court or meetings and are unable to answer their phone or make calls. These scheduling conflicts can cause delays in responses to your phone messages. Keep in mind that lawyers do need to take time off, so don’t expect your lawyer to contact you during weekends, holidays or after business hours
Another reason why a lawyer may not return your call is that you haven’t been specific in your phone messages about the information that you need. For example, many cases move along very slowly. If you call and leave a message asking for “any updates” and there is nothing to report, the attorney may not prioritize your call. Leaving a brief, but specific, message is respectful of your lawyer’s time and allows him or her to prepare an accurate answer to your inquiry.
In addition to providing a carefully worded message, it is also important to provide accurate contact information when you leave messages. Don’t assume that your lawyer can identify you via caller ID or by your name. Include your full name and your phone number with each message that you leave.
In some cases, however, a lawyer may not return your calls because he or she is disorganized or unprofessional. Working with such an attorney can be very frustrating and in some cases indicate that he or she is incapable of effectively representing you in court.
What to Do When Your Lawyer Doesn’t Respond to Calls
Before getting upset, call your lawyer’s office and asked to speak to his or her assistant or paralegal. He or she can let you know if the lawyer has received your message, is in the middle of a trial, or on vacation. In many cases, the paralegal can also answer your questions about the status of your case, eliminating the need to speak to your lawyer.
If you aren’t able to get satisfactory results from the paralegal, or your lawyer does not have a paralegal, send a friendly email. In the email, explain that you have been trying to reach him or her but of been unable to do so. Avoid threats or accusations: You don’t want to create friction between yourself and your attorney.
Give your lawyer a reasonable amount of time to respond to your correspondence. If more than a couple of days go by after you send an email with no response, you may wish to consider severing your relationship and finding a new attorney. While this can be a costly and time-consuming decision, it may be in your interest to do so.