Queens Alimony Maintenance Lawyers

Collecting Alimony In New York

New York laws allow spouses the opportunity to collect alimony maintenance from their ex-spouse following a divorce. It’s sometimes referred to as spousal support or maintenance, and Queens attorneys have ample practice helping people collect the funds they’re rightfully entitled to collect on time. When a couple makes the decision to divorce, they make the decision to go their separate ways. However, many couples are never completely free of one another whether there are kids involved in the marriage or not.

How Does Alimony Work?

The general rule of thumb is the spouse who earns more is ordered to pay their ex a fee each month called alimony. It typically only happens when one spouse earns substantially more than the other. A good example is a husband who works and a wife who has stayed home with the kids their entire marriage without ever working. She’s not able to earn an income as much as her husband to support the kind of life she and/or the kids are accustomed to living, and this means he might be ordered by the family court to pay alimony.

Do All Marriages Have Alimony or Spousal Support?

The issuance of an alimony order (more commonly referred to these days as spousal support or spousal maintenance) is by no stretch of the imagination a certainty in a New York divorce. The judge in family court will consider a number of factors in determining whether, to what extent, and for what duration spousal support would be appropriate. Some of the factors the include:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and health of both spouses
  • Whether there are children of the marriage in the respective homes of the parties
  • The need to cover exceptional additional expenses for the child/children, including but not limited to schooling, daycare and medical treatment
  • The ability of the party petitioning for maintenance to become self-supporting and, if applicable, the period of time and training needed to get them there
  • The equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities

How is Alimony Determined?

The biggest question about alimony is how it’s calculated and determined if a spouse is ordered to pay his or her ex. If a couple has only been married a few years and earn around the same amount of money working in their jobs, there is very little chance anyone will be ordered to pay any alimony. If there is a long marriage and a big discrepancy in income, however, there is an alimony order issued.

As mentioned before, judges typically considered numerous factors when making the decision to calculate a fair alimony payment, but the most common factor is the current lifestyle both parties lead. A judge looks at what both spouses could earn and do earn in a reasonable capacity, how much it costs to live, and how well both can go on living a life similar to the one they currently live. The amount of alimony payment is then set based on that. No two people are ordered to pay the same amount for the same time, and there are provisions.

Various Types of Alimony

In New York, two types of spousal maintenance can be ordered.  They are known as Pendente Lite Maintenance and Durational Maintenance.

Pendente Lite Maintenance: So called Pendente Lite Maintenance is paid during the pendency (thus the name) of the divorce up until a judgment of divorce is issued.  It is also known as Temporary Maintenance.

Permanent Maintenance: Permanent Maintenance is a kind of durational maintenance in which the term, or duration, is not necessarily a fixed period of time. Instead, the maintenance is terminated upon the occurrence of some event. Termination events could include the remarriage of the spouse who is getting permanent maintenance or the death of the spouse who pays.

Rehabilitative Maintenance: This is temporary alimony that is designed to offer the non-monied spouse financial support while he or she prepares to return to the workforce.

Restitutional Maintenance: Restitutional maintenance is temporary support that is intended to make up for one spouse supporting the other while he or she was working on educating themselves or completing job training.

How Long is Alimony Paid?

Most people want to know how long they’ll receive a check from their ex in the mail every month, and others want to know how long until they get to write that last check to their ex.

– Until the death of one of you

– Until the recipient of the alimony payments remarries

– Until a date scheduled by a judge

– Until the judge decides the other spouse has had enough time to find a job and become self-supporting

– Until retirement or job loss occurs and the amount of alimony is reconsidered

Alimony can be paid forever or for a short period of time. There is no right or wrong length of time, but calling an attorney to help with alimony maintenance is a good idea. An attorney is able to help clients receive the most amount or pay the least depending on who is being represented in the case.

Legalities of Alimony Maintenance

If you are entitled to alimony or required to pay, an attorney can help. Attorneys will work to make sure you’re not paying too much if you are required to pay. On the other hand, an attorney can help you make sure your ex is not hiding income and assets and preventing you from receiving the proper amount of alimony in the event of a divorce.

If you are receiving alimony payments and your ex stops paying, the job of an attorney is to file motions with the court to hold your ex in contempt of court as well as file paperwork to ensure you are given regular alimony payments. This could mean asking the court to mandate payments are taken from your ex’s paychecks automatically through wage garnishment, or it could mean putting your ex in jail to learn the importance of following the letter of the law.

If you’re the payor of alimony, an attorney’s job is to help you keep your payments low and help you end them as quickly as possible. An attorney works to uncover any secrets your ex is hiding, such as a marriage that isn’t being reported to the court, or even a spouse who has the capacity to earn a good living but refuses to do so in order to obtain payments.

Alimony maintenance is a fickle subject for those who have to pay as well as those who receive. It’s up to a good attorney to represent the possible outcome for the party being represented. All parties have a better chance of obtaining what they want from alimony payments when an attorney with experience in the subject is brought into the matter.

When you get a divorce in New York, there’s a chance that you may end up paying or receiving spousal support. Spousal support, also called alimony, is a payment made from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse so they can continue to live financially independently. If you’re in the process of divorce but haven’t yet finalized the agreement, and you and your spouse are living separately, temporary spousal support may be mandated until the divorce agreement puts more concrete plans in place.

After Divorce

Once the divorce is finalized, one of the spouses might need to give the other spousal maintenance. The duration and amount of the payment is calculated with a formula in the New York laws. In addition, the judge will take other circumstantial factors into account. There are certain cases in which the divorce agreement will mandate that support payments continue until one of the spouses dies.

The main goal behind maintenance is to make sure that both spouses can still have the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to while married. This is especially important when one of the spouses has been without a job for a while. Post-divorce support might be necessary while they learn skills to become financially independent.

Temporary Maintenance

Temporary maintenance is paid prior to the divorce‘s finalization. This is mandated when one spouse has an immediate financial need. For example, if the spouse cannot afford to pay for their housing or food costs, they would need spousal support payments to have an independent life. Temporary maintenance plans always expire as soon as the divorce is finalized.

After Divorce Maintenance

When the divorce is finalized, you and your spouse both need to abide by the terms outlined. It counts as a legally binding contract. Failing to comply with the terms laid out in the divorce can result in criminal charges.

The divorce will give details regarding how your assets are divided, child custody arrangements, and spousal support payments. Spousal support generally begins right after the divorce. The payments continue to be furnished until the supported spouse remarries, the supported spouse cohabitates with someone else, or one of the spouses dies.

New York Maintenance Guidelines

Many aspects of divorce are fully up to the judge’s discretion. However, where spousal and child support payments are concerned, there’s a standardized formula. This formula is devised based on each spouse’s income. The goal is to ensure the award amounts are fair and consistent state-wide.

The court needs to input certain variables to make the calculation. This means that some external factors might be considered. If the initial calculation is considered by the judge to be unfair, the court will overrule it with a justified amount. A judge might consider each spouse’s health conditions and ages, each spouse’s earning capacity, and the marriage’s standard of living.

Calculation of post-divorce support is different from temporary support. Post-divorce support isn’t calculated by a fixed formula. The other considered factors include:

  • Both spouse’s income
  • Both spouse’s property
  • Both spouse’s future earning potential
  • The length of time necessary for a spouse to become able to support themselves

Maintenance Termination

If spousal maintenance is part of a final divorce agreement, it will be either durational or nondurational. The type of maintenance has the biggest effect on how long you can expect to pay.

Durational maintenance payments are only made for a certain amount of time. In these cases, the spouse who receives the payments is planning to become financially independent. Payments may be made while the spouse applies for jobs or seeks higher education so they can have better earning opportunities.

Nondurational maintenance, on the other hand, lasts for a lifetime. The exception is if the receiving spouse remarries or begins cohabitating with a new partner. Nondurational maintenance is rare but can be awarded in certain instances. This might include elderly spouses who can’t find employment or spouses with illnesses.

Maintenance Adjustments

A judge will sometimes amend the maintenance agreement if circumstances change. They’ll either reduce or increase the payments. Payments may be increased if the cost of living increases. Alternatively, if the paying spouse suffers a severe loss of income, the judge may reduce the payments to provide relief.

If you want a change to your spousal payments, you need to petition the court. It’s important to get in contact with an alimony and maintenance lawyer who can help you file the case.