New York Spousal Support
Divorce is a profoundly challenging life event, often with significant financial ramifications. The dissolution of a marriage can unravel financial stability, impacting both parties' financial security and future prospects. The division of assets and liabilities, potential alimony or spousal support obligations, and considerations regarding child support create a complex financial landscape that requires careful navigation. One of the critical aspects of managing finances during a divorce is understanding spousal support, commonly known as alimony. Spousal support is a mechanism designed to ensure financial fairness, especially for the lesser-earning spouse or the one who dedicated their time to family and household responsibilities. Whether you are seeking spousal support or anticipating the possibility of paying it, gaining clarity on the nuances of spousal support in New York is essential. A seasoned New Your family spousal support lawyer can provide the insights and guidance needed to comprehend your rights and obligations concerning spousal support, assisting you in making informed decisions during this challenging time. Feel free to reach out to Stephen Bilkis & Associates for a consultation to discuss your case.Types of Spousal Support
In New York there are several types of spousal support including: temporary, durational, or permanent.
- Temporary support. Temporary support, also referred to as temporary maintenance, is an order for support that a judge issues during the pendency of the divorce. Once the divorces finalized the temporary maintenance ends and the judge makes a decision about a final order of support. Just because a temporary order of support was issued does not automatically mean that the judge will also issue an order for support at the conclusion of the divorce proceedings.
- Durational support. Durational support refers to spousal support that is set for a fixed period of time. For example, the judge may give a dependent spouse 2 years to finish a vocational program and get a job. Once the 2 years is up, the supporting spouse’s obligation to pay support ends.
- Permanent support. If a support order is permanent, the supporting spouse is obligated to pay until the dependent spouse remarries or passes away.
In making a determination as to whether or not a petition for support will be granted, the court will consider a number of factors, including:
- Length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- The age of each spouse
- The need of one spouse to incur education or training expenses
- Where children of the marriage live
- The health of each of the spouses
- The contributions that one spouse to help enhance the other spouse’s career and earning capacity
Under New York Domestic Relations Law either spouse can requires a change in an order for support. Certain changes in either spouse’s financial, medical or personal circumstances may be grounds for an increase, decrease or cessation of alimony payments.
- Increase or Decrease in the Supporting Spouse's Income. A significant change in the supporting spouse's income, whether an increase or decrease, may be grounds for modifying alimony. However, voluntary decreases that appear manipulative to avoid alimony obligations are generally not considered valid grounds for modification.
- Increase or Decrease in the Dependent Spouse’s Income. A substantial change in the income of the dependent spouse can justify a modification in alimony payments to ensure they remain fair and relevant to the current financial circumstances.
- Increase in the Cost of Living. When the cost of living rises significantly, it can strain the finances of either spouse. In such cases, adjustments to alimony may be appropriate to accommodate the increased cost of living.
- Disability or Illness That Affects Either Spouse. If either the supporting or dependent spouse experiences a serious disability or illness that affects their ability to earn or maintain their livelihood, alimony modifications may be warranted to reflect their changed circumstances.
- Financial Emergency That Affects Either Spouse. Unforeseen financial emergencies, such as unexpected medical expenses or sudden job loss, can create a financial crisis. These emergencies might necessitate a temporary or permanent modification of alimony to alleviate the financial burden.
- Dependent Spouse's Cohabitation with Another Person. If the dependent spouse begins cohabitating with another individual, this change in living situation and potentially shared expenses might justify a modification in alimony.
- Remarriage of the Dependent Spouse. Remarriage of the dependent spouse typically terminates the obligation for alimony payments, as the financial support is expected to be provided by the new spouse.
- Retirement. Upon the retirement of the supporting spouse, adjustments to alimony payments may be necessary based on their changed financial circumstances and ability to provide support.
- Any Other Change in Circumstances Causing Financial Hardship. New York law allows modifications if any unforeseen change in circumstances substantially impacts the financial well-being of either spouse, ensuring the support arrangement remains just and reasonable. To learn if your
In addition, any other change in circumstances that creates a financial hardship on either spouse may be cause for a change the amount of support payments.Effect of a Prenuptial of Postnuptial Agreement
If a pre- or postnuptial agreement is in place that addresses the issue of alimony, in the absence of fraud or some other illegality, the agreement is binding. Many such agreements address support. In some cases a pre- or post-nuptial agreement will state that neither party will be entitled to support- permanent or otherwise.Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Divorce proceedings are emotional and complicated. There are many factors that a judge will consider in making a determination about support, property division and child custody. It is important that you have experienced representation. The spousal support attorneys serving New York at Stephen Bilkis & Associates has 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. Whether you are seeking spousal support or defending against it, we will advocate for you at every step. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.