Queens Durational Alimony
As any Queens alimony lawyer will tell you, there are three major spousal maintenance issues that are of concern you get a divorce in New York:
- Who is the payer and who is the payee?
- What is the amount of the alimony?
- What is the length of time alimony will be paid?
Though either gender can pay alimony, it’s by far usually men who are still the payers. This is partly because more women are still eligible for alimony than men, but it is also because more men hesitate to ask for alimony even if they are eligible. Either way, alimony rarely continues indefinitely, though that is possible. Most spousal maintenance awards are for a specific duration, which is why it is referred to as durational alimony. The time for which it may be awarded can vary quite a bit according to the situation of the parties, which is why you should consult with a good lawyer here in Queens who is experienced with durational alimony. Your attorney can be sure the judge understands all of the factors relevant to your case, and can make all the difference in your result.Making Your Case for Alimony Duration
To determine the duration, judges can start out with an advisory schedule made available to them by the laws of New York, but they are under no compunction to do so. The schedule is based on the length of the marriage. For those married up to 15 years, the schedule recommends the duration of the alimony should be for 15% to 30% of the time of the marriage. For those married 15 to 20 years, the schedule recommends 30% to 40% of the time of the marriage. And for those married over 20 years, the recommendation is for 35% to 50%. But this is just the beginning if the judge uses the advisory schedule at all. The judge will look at all kinds of things to determine what is fair. For example, age and health of both spouses will be taken into consideration. In the case of a payee spouse that is old or ill and therefore unlikely to be able to join the workforce, a judge may even award permanent alimony. If the payee spouse can’t work for some other reason, likewise the judge may award permanent alimony rather than durational alimony.
If one of the spouses did not work or only worked to a limited extent in order to take care of the home and children, a judge will consider that in determining alimony duration. While working primarily in the home, they may have sacrificed the path to a lucrative career. In a case where a payee spouse is young enough to want to go back to school in order to get good employment, sometimes a judge will award alimony for a time period that enables them to complete their degree and get a job in their field. If one of the spouses, typically the payer, wasted marital property or transferred it in order to avoid the payee getting a part of the property, this is a factor in how long the payer must pay alimony. There are additional factors laid out in Domestic Relations Law 236B. Some, but not all of the other factors a judge may consider are cost of medical insurance; whether the payee spouse cared for children, stepchildren, disabled adult children, or elderly parents during the marriage which made it difficult for them to hold a job; tax consequences to both parties; standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage; equitable distribution of property and its subsequent income; and any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper. This last factor means the judge can consider just about anything they want, which makes it even more important that you have a good Queens family attorney who is very experienced with durational alimony and can provide the judge with detailed documentation and arguments that support your case.
We have already mentioned that a court is allowed to award permanent alimony under some circumstances. Other circumstances will terminate alimony. These include the payee spouse remarrying, the death of either spouse and possibly the payee spouse deciding to live with a new partner, though that is up to the judge.Yes, Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Matter
If you and your spouse executed a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement, it will make alimony issues much easier should you get divorced. Often these agreements lay out both amount and duration of alimony, and the New York courts do consider them binding. Of course, sometimes one of the spouses challenges an agreement, often on the basis of fraud. You may want to have your attorney take a look at yours periodically even if you are not contemplating divorce.Queens Durational Alimony Lawyer
People bring different contributions to a marriage, and often one of the parties does quite a bit of work within the marriage, but does not bring in outside income or may make a limited income. Judges tend to look first at how long the couple were married when deciding on the duration of alimony, but they also look at the whole picture. You want the judge to get an accurate snapshot, and a good Queens divorce attorney with experience in durational spousal maintenance will make a big difference in your final outcome. 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. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your concerns related to your family law case. 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.