Spousal Support Lawyers in Nassau County
Spousal Support Assistance Throughout Long Island and New York
Under New York law, a spouse may be required to pay support/maintenance to the other (formerly referred to as alimony).
We understand that this can be overwhelming to a spouse who has never worked outside the home before, and to a spouse who may fear having to pay a large part of their income to the spouse — financial uncertainty can be overwhelming. We can help you through this process to best protect your rights. Having represented parties on both sides, we will advise you on what to anticipate, how to best plan your case, and as to a fair resolution.
Like child support, spousal support is generally computed based upon a statutory guideline. Effective March 1, 2022, the income cap of the maintenance payor under the Maintenance Guidelines Act increased to $203,000.00. Forms and calculators for both contested and uncontested divorces revised reflecting these changes are posted here.
However, as with child support, courts may and routinely do vary from the statutory formula and must consider the following statutory factors when determining the appropriate amounts and duration of maintenance payable by either party:
- The income and property of the respective parties, including marital property
- 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 (such as acts of domestic violence)
- The ability of the party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting and, if applicable, the period of time and training necessary therefor
- Reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance as a result of having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities during the marriage
- 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 for exceptional additional expenses for the child/children, including but not limited to schooling, day care, and medical treatment
- The tax consequences to each party
- The equitable distribution of marital property
- Contributions and services of the party seeking maintenance as a spouse, parent, wage earner, and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party
- The wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse
- The transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration
- The loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage, and the availability and cost of medical insurance for the parties
- Any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper
The modification of spousal support is subject to a different and much more difficult standard than the modification of child support. Absent a specific provision in a written agreement, the standard for a payor spouse to seek relief from spousal support is extreme hardship. As is demonstrated by the very term, “extreme hardship” is difficult to establish.
Enforcement of spousal support is undertaken in much the same manner as enforcement of child support — if the payor spouse defaults, the recipient spouse has various options. First, if there is a stipulation or written agreement, the default and notice provisions, if any, must be reviewed and followed. Otherwise, the recipient must proceed with enforcement proceedings, which may include seeking court intervention. How to proceed will depend on many factors, including the location of the parties, their sources of income, and their assets. In an enforcement proceeding, the court has broad authority, and, among other things, can issue a money judgment, which will accrue interest, hold a defaulting party in contempt (potentially including jail time), and award the enforcing party counsel fees.
If you are the defaulting party and need to defend yourself against enforcement proceedings, the available defenses are limited and will be fact specific. If a payor becomes unable to pay, they should seek legal advice as early as possible.
If you have questions or would like a more detailed explanation, please call our office to schedule a telephone or in-person consultation.
Do you have any additional questions? Contact us at (516) 447-8977.
Mr. Grossman brings more than twenty (20) years of experience as a matrimonial and family law attorney to his mediation practice, having completed both the basic mediation training and the advanced mediation training for matrimonial matters. He added this service to provide clients with an alternative to litigation with the hope that he can help parties resolve their differences more efficiently and as amicably as possible.
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