Bronx Alimony Modification
When you divorce, if alimony is granted it is either because the parties agreed to the amount and duration or because the recipient spouse’s attorney petitioned the court for alimony and the judge awarded it. But life is not static, and sometimes there is an event or a change in circumstances that warrants seeking a modification in alimony. Whether you are the payee or the payer spouse, in order to get a hearing and give yourself the best possibility of your desired outcome, you will want to consult with a Bronx alimony modification lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you of what you must show to get a hearing and the burden of proof needed to get an alimony modification. Also, your lawyer can negotiate with your spouse’s attorney in an attempt to resolve the matter without putting it in front of a judge to decide.Winning a Petition for Alimony Modification
If you and your spouse can agree to the change in alimony, your attorney need only submit an executed agreement to the Bronx court for approval. If the parties are in agreement, court approval should not be a problem. However, when it comes to modifying alimony, it’s more likely one of the parties will have to make a motion in the New York Supreme Court or petition the Family Court in the Bronx. Be aware that when you take an action before a court, there is no guarantee of a judge’s actions. You could move to reduce alimony, for example, and the judge could do just the opposite. Talk with your Bronx alimony modification lawyer to determine if this could be a danger in your case.
Whether or not the alimony modification petition is approved will probably depend upon how the original divorce was handled. If the spouses agreed to the amount and duration of alimony, then there is a much tougher burden of proof than if the court made its own determinations and ordered alimony because the spouses could not agree.
- If both parties agreed to the original alimony award, then it can only be modified if the attorney making the motion can demonstrate that their client would suffer “extreme hardship” without the modification. This standard is established by New York Domestic Relations Law 236 B(9)(b)(1).
- If the court determined and ordered the alimony, then the Bronx attorney making the alimony modification motion must only demonstrate “the payee’s inability to be self-supporting…, a substantial change in circumstance…, financial hardship… or full or partial retirement of the payor if the retirement results in a substantial change in financial circumstances.” This is a much lower standard of proof than “extreme hardship.”
It’s worth noting that there are three events which will always result in the termination of alimony.
- Death of either party
- Remarriage of the recipient spouse
- Recipient spouse moving in with a partner they hold out to be a spouse.
Due to some relatively recent changes in New York family law, it’s possible that alimony is calculated differently today in the Bronx than when you were divorced. Today, the judge begins determination of the alimony amount with a calculation that compares the incomes of the two parties. If the payer’s income exceeds a cap which is currently set at $178,000 but is periodically increased, then the judge must consider a host of other statutory factors. Even if the payer’s status is less than the cap, but the amount calculated would be unfair, the just can still consider additional factors. These include age, health, need for the payee spouse to continue education in order to become self-sufficient, caretaking duties the payee spouse performed during the marriage, and quite a few more. The judge is also allowed to consider any factor they deem to be “just and proper.”
Duration of alimony is usually geared to last until the recipient spouse can become self-sufficient. Judges can use a noncompulsory advisory schedule that suggests a percentage of the length of the marriage be used as a starting point to determine the duration of alimony. The judge is then required to consider many other factors, the same ones referred to in the last section.Bronx Alimony Modifications Lawyer
Your chances of winning an alimony modification depend on a great degree whether you and your spouse agreed to the alimony terms when you were divorced or if the court determined them. Either way, your Bronx attorney will need to present detailed financial information so the court can decide on alimony modification. Make sure you get an attorney who is experienced in this area. The attorneys at Stephen Bilkis and Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients in New York Supreme Court and Family Court who are seeking spousal support or maintenance, or who are seeking modifications to support orders. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.