From Vows to Support: How New York Protects Spouses in Divorce

Divorce can be an emotionally and financially challenging process, especially when it comes to the issue of spousal support. In New York, spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, is designed to provide financial assistance to the lesser-earning spouse during and after the divorce process. This blog post will explore the key aspects of spousal support in New York divorces, helping you better understand your rights and obligations in this area.

1. Types of Spousal Support in New York

There are two main types of spousal support in New York: temporary and post-divorce. Temporary maintenance is awarded during the divorce process to provide financial assistance to the lesser-earning spouse while the case is ongoing. Post-divorce maintenance, on the other hand, is awarded after the divorce is finalized and can be either durational or non-durational.

  • Durational maintenance: This type of support is awarded for a specific period of time, typically based on the length of the marriage. For example, if a couple was married for ten years, the court may award durational maintenance for five years.
  • Non-durational maintenance: Also known as permanent maintenance, this type of support is awarded indefinitely, usually in cases where the lesser-earning spouse is unable to become self-supporting due to age, health, or other factors.

2. Factors Considered in Determining Spousal Support

The New York Domestic Relations Law provides a list of factors that courts must consider when determining the amount and duration of spousal support. Some of these factors include:

  • The income and property of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of both parties
  • The present and future earning capacity of both 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 by one party against another that have inhibited or continue to inhibit a party's earning capacity or ability to obtain meaningful employment (e.g., domestic violence)
  • The availability and cost of medical insurance for the parties
  • The tax consequences to each party

3. Modification and Termination of Spousal Support

Spousal support in New York can be modified or terminated under certain circumstances. For example, if the recipient spouse remarries or either party experiences a significant change in financial circumstances, the court may modify the support order. Additionally, spousal support automatically terminates upon the death of either party or, in the case of durational maintenance, upon the expiration of the specified time period.

4. Enforcement of Spousal Support Orders

If a party fails to comply with a spousal support order, the other party can seek enforcement through the court. The New York State Child Support Enforcement Program can also assist with the collection of spousal support in cases where child support is also being collected.

5. Legal Assistance for Spousal Support Matters

Understanding and navigating the complexities of spousal support in New York can be challenging. At Winter & Grossman, PLLC, our experienced family law attorneys can provide guidance and representation in all aspects of your divorce, including spousal support. From negotiating a fair and equitable support agreement to ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the process, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services in the area of spousal support and divorce.