Nassau County Spousal Maintenance Lawyer
Spousal maintenance, often referred to as alimony, has changed quite a bit over the years in Nassau County, throughout the state of New York and the country as a whole. This is no surprise since it reflects societal changes of more and more women, particularly professional women, in the workforce. There was a time when it was unusual for a woman to be able to find a job to support herself at anywhere near the standard of living enjoyed in the marriage if she divorced. Today, women have a lot more options. This is not to say that divorce does not have financial impact; it certainly does and generally not for the better. But if we look as recently as the 1960’s, we can see that spousal maintenance is awarded 40% less today than it was then. In the 1960’s, alimony was awarded in about 25% of the cases, and today, it is awarded about 10% of the time. The award goes 97% of the time to women, though it is perfectly possible for a judge to order a woman to pay alimony to a man. Forty percent of households are headed by female breadwinners, but people don’t get alimony if they don’t ask for it, and many men are reluctant to do so even when they are clearly eligible. Whether you are seeking it or opposing it, to put your best case before a judge, consult with an experienced Nassau County spousal maintenance lawyer. They can explain how the court will determine alimony and outline your options.How Judges Determine Spousal Maintenance Awards
As part of the divorce proceedings, both parties must reveal their finances. Sworn statements of net worth must be accompanies by supporting documents such as income tax returns, a representative pay stub and information relating to health plans. As soon as practical after a divorce is filed, the court sets a date for the valuation of each asset. The date, however, may be any time before trial.
Alimony awards in New York were much more subjective in the recent past than they are today. New York has revised spousal maintenance laws in in order to make who receives it, the amount and the duration more consistent and less of a dice game. It is compulsory today for judges to begin their determination of a spousal maintenance award with an objective calculation which may be found in Domestic Relations Law 236B. There are two formulas, one for use where a spouse will pay child support and one where no child support is involved. The formula used calculates the difference between income of the parties after they take deductions. However, the formula caps the income of the payer spouse, and this cap is periodically adjusted according to the consumer index. At the time of this writing it is $178,000. Once the judge has the result of the calculation, adjustments can be made particularly if the payer’s income exceeds $178,000. Your spousal maintenance lawyer in Nassau County can explain this in more detail.
The judge will look at a number of factors including age, health, need for one of the parties to get further training or education, earning capacity, what one spouse has done to another that inhibits their earning capacity such as domestic violence, the availability and cost of medical insurance, the wasteful dissipation of marital property including transfers or encumbrances made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration, the existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or a pre-divorce separate household, the care of children or stepchildren, disabled adult children or stepchildren or elderly parents during the marriage that inhibited the payee spouse’s earning capacity, tax consequences, standard of living during the marriage, reduced or lost earning capacity of the payee as a result of having forgone or delayed education, training, employment or career opportunities during the marriage and any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.
Also, be aware that you need not wait until the divorce decree is final to get spousal maintenance. Temporary alimony is available during all or part of the divorce proceedings to prevent hardship and to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.How Long Spousal Maintenance Lasts
Judges have quite a bit of leeway in determining the duration of spousal maintenance, but they may use a noncompulsory advisory schedule as a starting point. The schedule takes into consideration the number of years married and suggests what percentage of that number of years spousal maintenance should be paid. In other words, if you were married 20 years, the guideline will suggest the duration of your alimony should be longer than if you were married 10 years.
- 0 to 15 years: 15% - 30% of the time married
- 15 to 20 years: 30% - 40% of the time married
- More than 20 years: 35% - 50% of the time married
However, the judge must still consider other factors in determining length of durational alimony. In fact, if the marriage was a long one and the spouse is old, ill or cannot support themselves, they could even get permanent alimony.
Spousal maintenance ends
- If one of the spouses dies
- If the payee spouse remarries
- In the discretion of the judge, if the payee spouse moves in with a partner
Despite the fact that both men and women are actively employed in the workforce today, sometimes one spouse stays home to take care of home and children or works a job to support a spouse while they get an advanced education and build a high paying career. You should consult with an experienced spousal maintenance attorney practicing in Nassau County about your eligibility for alimony or whether you many have to pay it. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully representing clients in the New York Supreme Court and Family Court who are seeking spousal support or maintenance. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.