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New York Spousal Support

Under New York family law, spouses have the duty to financially support each other. This duty sometimes extends to when married couples separate or divorce. When a marriage dissolves divorce law allows either spouse to petition for spousal support, also called alimony. However, just like with other decisions that must be worked out when a couple splits such as child support, the ultimate decision as to whether or not a spouse will be required to pay spousal support will be determined by a judge based on a number of factors primarily related to the each spouse’s financial situation. If you are contemplating divorce or separation, it is important that you contact an experienced New York spousal support lawyer who will explain to you the factors the court may consider in determining whether to order support payments and who will also assist with any child support or child custody issues that might arise.

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.
Determinations of support

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
Modifications to spousal support orders

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.

  • An increase or decrease in the supporting spouse's income (a voluntary decrease in the supporting spouse’s income is not usually grounds for an alimony modification)
  • An increase or decrease in the dependent spouse’s income
  • An increase in the cost of living
  • A disability or illness that affects either spouse
  • A financial emergency that affects either spouse
  • The dependent spouse's cohabitation with another person
  • The remarriage of dependent spouse
  • Retirement

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 the Law Offices of 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 staff at the Law Offices of 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: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

Client Reviews
My ex-husband hadn't paid child support or the mortgage on the house as he was supposed to. Stephen Bilkis and his team of lawyers were amazing. They stopped the foreclosure on the house, Got a judgment against him and most importantly kept me and my children in the house. Can't say enough good things about him in the firm their compassion hard work and dedication were exceptional. I.G.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
Stephen has handled numerous estate matters, criminal matters and family court matters effectively and with a goal-oriented approach. He gets great results and is a results-oriented attorney. Dustin