An Overview of Maintenance and Spousal Support
Long Island Divorce Lawyer
Divorce litigation can be a stressful process. Even if you and your former spouse have decided on
divorce mediation or
uncontested divorce rather than litigation in the hopes of a more amicable
separation, it can still be quite an emotional process to separate out all the things and relationships that used to be part of a life together. A Long Island maintenance lawyer may be able to help you with your family law case. This stage of a divorce case can bring up many questions that perhaps were never considered before. "Maintenance" or "spousal support," formerly referred to as "alimony" is a legally binding agreement for which the amounts to be paid and period of time payments must be made and cannot be changed without a petition to the Court.
If you are responsible for spousal support payments or feel you are entitled to maintenance from your former spouse, it is wise to get the help of a Long Island divorce attorney At the Meyers Law Group, PC we feel that family law cases definitely require a certain degree of compassion and care in order to help the client through his or her divorce. A maintenance attorney at our firm helps each client understand the process of spousal maintenance and may be able to help you get the outcome you are looking for.
New Spousal Support Laws
Effective October 12, 2010, new laws went into effect in New York with regard to the award of temporary spousal maintenance and attorney fees in a divorce. Interim maintenance (temporary maintenance) will be considered by the Court when one spouse's income is less than 2/3 of the amount of the other spouse's income. Unless a Court deems awarding temporary maintenance based on the new guidelines to be inappropriate, a judge will award interim maintenance based upon each spouse's respective income. Changes to the Domestic Relations Law clarified that Attorney fees may also be awarded in a divorce, modification or enforcement proceedings where one spouse's income is significantly less than the others. This is done in an attempt to even the playing field, so to speak, for a spouse with less resources to pay for legal counsel.
- Husband Has Income if $90,000.00 as Defined by CSSA [DRL 240] (After FICA Deduction)
- Wife Has Income of &30,000.00 as Defined by CSSA [DRL 240]
- Calculation #1:
- $90,000.00 x 30% = $27,000.00
- $30,000.00 x 20% = $6,000.00
- Subtract One From the Other = $21,000.00
- Calculation #2:
- Combined Income of $120,000.00 x 40% = $48,000.00
- Subtract $30,000.00 from $48,000.00 = $18,000.00
- The Lesser Amount of Two Calculations is $18,000.00 = Presumptive Temporary Maintenance (yearly figure)
What factors influence the court's decision?
New York has also made changes to the factors a Court must consider when awarding maintenance. Post-Divorce Maintenance Guidelines have been modified too. For instance, aside from consideration of standard of living of parties, the Court shall consider the following factors per DRL section 236 (6)(B):
- The income and property of the parties, including property distributed;
- The length of the marriage;
- The age and health of the parties;
- The present and future earning capacity of the parties;
- The need of one party to incur education or training expenses;
- The existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or a pre-divorce separate household;
- Acts of one party that have inhibited or continue to inhibit a party's earning capacity, including but not limited to acts of domestic violence as defined in Social Services Law section 469(a);
- The ability of the party seeking maintenance to be self-supporting and if applicable, the time and training necessary therefor;
- The reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance as the result of having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities;
- The presence of children of the marriage in the respective homes of the parties;
- The care of the children or stepchildren, disabled adult children or stepchildren, elderly parents or in-laws that has inhibited or continues to inhibit a party's earning capacity;
- The inability of one party to obtain meaningful employment due to age or absence from the workforce;
- The need to pay "exceptional additional expenses" for the child(ren) including but not limited to schooling, day care and medical treatment;
- The tax consequences to each party;
- The equitable distribution of marital property;
- Contributions of party seeking maintenance as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker;
- The wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse;
- The transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of matrimonial action without fair consideration;
- The loss of health insurance benefits and the availability of and cost of medical insurance for the parties;
- Any other factor which the court finds to be "just and proper."
Enlist Effective Advocacy in Long Island
The Meyers Law Group, PC specializes in many aspects of family law including divorce, modification proceedings and
equitable distribution. Quite separate from
child support issues, maintenance and spousal support issues may greatly affect one or both former spouses after a divorce. Factors that may be considered by a court when setting maintenance agreements are: income, potential income and health of either party, children, length of marriage, etc. Ensure your rights and interests are protected;
call our offices as soon as possible to discuss your case and determine your legal options.