Westchester County Spousal Support Lawyer
Spousal maintenance, also called alimony, is a financial payment ordered in a divorce to be paid from the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse during the divorce, or after. Spousal support, on the other hand, is an order made in family court to guarantee the financial support of a spouse. Spousal maintenance is not always awarded; the duration of the marriage, conduct of each spouse, and other factors are taken into account when determining spousal maintenance. While traditionally awarded only to women in decades passed, spousal maintenance is now an option regardless of gender. As with all other aspects of divorce, you are strongly encouraged to speak with a Westchester County spousal support lawyer before signing anything with the other party. The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. has assisted countless husbands and wives when it comes to spousal support, maintenance, modification of orders, enforcement, and all other family and divorce matters.
The Three Types of Spousal Maintenance Awarded in New York
- Temporary—Divorce takes a long time. The lower earning spouse will still have bills to pay, and potentially additional housing expenses to cover, during these months. Temporary support (also called temporary maintenance) can be awarded to help cover these costs. Spousal maintenance may continue after the divorce, or it may conclude with temporary maintenance once the divorce papers are signed.
- Durational—Durational spousal maintenance is awarded on fixed time periods. A judge may award it for one year, or five, for example. During this time, the receiving spouse may use these funds as they wish. Often, this support is used to pay for housing, vocational training, and education as a means to eventually become financially self-sufficient. Once the durational support period ends, the paying spouse’s obligation is terminated.
- Permanent—Permanent spousal maintenance is the least common type of alimony awarded. It is as the name suggests: permanent, until one of the spouses passes away. Permanent spousal maintenance may be awarded if the wealth gap between the two spouses is very high, if the age or health of the receiving spouse is poor, or if the likelihood of the receiving spouse to become financially self-sufficient is low.
How is Alimony Decided?
As with all divorce matters, the spouses have the opportunity of negotiating an agreement between themselves—typically with the aid of attorneys during meditation. However, if an alimony agreement cannot be reached, a court will use the following factors to make a decision:
- Length of the marriage
- Conduct of each spouse during the marriage
- Income of each spouse
- Future earning capacity of each spouse
- Non financial contributions made to the marriage by each spouse
- Care of children
- Age, mental, and physical health of each spouse
- Division of marital assets
As such, the court recognizes non-financial contributions each spouse makes. For example, if the party seeking spousal maintenance did the majority of childcare and homemaking, enabling the other spouse to focus on their career, these contributions and sacrifices will be taken into account.
Each party’s income figures into the maintenance calculation, with the higher-income party paying maintenance to the lower-income party. New York law provides a guideline calculator for incomes up to $203,000, but for higher-income payors, the court looks at 15 factors to decide how to calculate maintenance.
Several calculations are made using the maintenance calculator. In the first calculation, the payor’s income is multiplied by 20%, and the payee’s income is multiplied by 25%. Then the payee’s result is multiplied by the payor’s result. In the second calculation, the payor’s income is multiplied by 30%, and the payee’s income is multiplied by 20% before the payee’s result is subtracted from the payor’s result.
The first result applies if child support is being paid and the maintenance payor is also the non-custodial parent. If there is no child support ordered or agreed to, or if the maintenance payor is the custodial parent, then the second result applies.
A third calculation is also required. For this result, each party’s income is added together, and the sum is multiplied by 40%. The payee’s income is then subtracted from the product, and the guideline amount is the lower amount between this result and either the first or second result, whichever applies. The maintenance amount after completing these calculations could be zero.
Call a Westchester County Spousal Support Lawyer
Spousal maintenance can be an important tool for reinventing oneself after a long marriage. It can also be a source of financial turmoil for the paying spouse. To ensure you come out of your divorce in the best possible way, you need to work with a lawyer. Call The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. at 845-735-1300 to discuss your case with a Westchester County spousal support & maintenance attorney today.