Paying Spousal Support
Are you worried about paying spousal support? We are here to help you find out what to expect. We take care of everything for you so you can focus on yourself during this transformative time.
Spousal support, or maintenance comes in the form of payments the higher-earning spouse makes to the lower-earning spouse to maintain the standard of living both enjoyed during the marriage. A married spouse can petition the New York Family Court to order spousal support; if a couple is separating or divorcing, the New York Supreme Court will consider spousal support as part of the marital action. Spousal support can be for a set number of years or an indefinite period. It is gender neutral, though occasions are few when the court orders the wife to pay the husband.
Just as the courts in New York have discretion in the equitable distribution of existing marital property, the court has latitude to consider “fairness” in awarding spousal support. The New York Domestic Relations Law sets out factors to consider, including:
- The parties’ standard of living.
- The income and property of the parties, including marital assets awarded during equitable distribution.
- The duration of the marriage and the age and health of the parties.
- The present and future earning capacity of both parties.
- The ability of the party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting, including time and training necessary.
- The presence of children of the marriage.
- The tax consequences to each party.
- The contributions of the party seeking maintenance as a spouse, parent, wage earner, or homemaker and to the career or career potential of the other party.
- The wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse.
- Any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a divorce.
- Any other factor that the court expressly finds just and proper.
New York State allows for temporary maintenance for the duration of the divorce proceedings, and post-divorce maintenance thereafter. In September 2015 Gov. Cuomo signed a statue applying a new formula to calculate alimony payments, and introducing a durational element, determined by the length of the marriage and the ability of the payee to become self-sufficient. This has restricted the vast discretion judges have heretofore exercised in ordering alimony.
You can petition for spousal support without a separation agreement or a divorce; all you have to do is go to the Family Court in your county and file the appropriate paperwork, at no cost.
Do you have questions about paying spousal support? Please call and set up a consultation with us right away.