New York Spousal Support Modifications Lawyer

When a married couple gets a divorce the court may award spousal support or spousal maintenance to the former husband or wife. The awarding of spousal maintenance may be based on pre- or postnuptial agreement, or it may be based on a decision by the court. However, regardless of whether spousal support was agreed upon by the former spouses or ordered by the court, under New York divorce law either party has the right to petition the court to change the amount of payments or to stop them altogether. There are often changes in the circumstances of a divorced couple such that changes in the support agreement, the child custody agreement, or a change in the child support order would make sense. If circumstances have changed for you or your former spouse such that a support modification is under consideration, it is important that you contact an experienced New York spousal support modifications lawyer who will explain to you the factors the court may consider in determining whether or not a modification is legally justified and who will help ensure that any support order issued is both consistent with New York Domestic Relations law as well as your financial situation.

How does a court determine whether a spouse should pay support?

In a divorce proceeding either party may request maintenance. The court will determine which spouse, if either, will be required to pay (supporting spouse) the other spouse (dependent spouse). Under New York Domestic Relations Law article 13, section 236, a court may order support payments. It is popularly believed that in a divorce the husband pays the wife support. While that may have been the case historically, nowadays either the husband or the wife may be required to pay support. The judge will make the determination based on a number of factors including the relative incomes of the spouses, the earning ability of the spouses, and where the minor children will live. Also, spousal support decisions are not always made by a judge. In some cases the spouses agree upon support in a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement, or in a divorce agreement.

At any time after an order is entered directing a spouse to pay support, either spouse can file a petition requesting that modification to the order.

What are the common reasons that a support is modified?

Under New York law certain changes in either party’s financial, medical or personal circumstances may be grounds for an increase, decrease or cessation of support 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 the circumstances of the divorced couple that creates a financial hardship on either spouse may be cause for a change the amount of support payments.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are facing a difficult divorce with complicated issues related to spousal support, it is important that you have experienced representation. The staff at Stephen Bilkis and Associates has years of experience successfully representing clients 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 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.

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1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529)