Spousal Maintenance Attorneys in Suffolk County
Helping Islip & Brookhaven Residents Not Settle for an Unfair Payment
When going through a separation or divorce, making decisions about all the various issues that arise can seem overwhelming — and spousal maintenance can be the most challenging. Regardless of whether you are seeking or defending against spousal maintenance, your financial future depends on the decision that is made. At MONTEFUSCO | PAMMER, our Suffolk County spousal maintenance lawyers have handled hundreds of cases related to divorce and family law. We understand the importance of fair spousal maintenance payments and are committed to fighting for the best outcome of your case.
Contact MONTEFUSCO | PAMMER at (631) 801-0007 for more information specific to your needs and circumstances.
Spousal Maintenance Basics
New York family law requires that spouses financially support one another during a marriage. Depending on the couple’s situation, this requirement may carry on after divorce. When seeking to change a marital status by a divorce or legal separation, either spouse has the right to file a petition for spousal maintenance. The court will make the final decision for or against spousal maintenance.
Who Is Entitled to Spousal Maintenance?
A number of factors affect your eligibility to receive spousal support in NY, also known as "spousal maintenance."
Typical amounts and length of spousal support in New York vary. Maintenance is usually for a certain period of time. In order to make its decision, the court will evaluate numerous factors, including some of the following:
- Income and property between each spouse. The court will consider each spouse's financial situation. If there is a significant disparity, the chances that the less prosperous will receive support increases, as does the amount of the payments.
- Length of the marriage. Each case is different, but, typically, the longer the marriage, the larger the payment. Spouses who have foregone employment opportunities to stay at home and care for children over the course of many years are particularly well-placed to receive maintenance payments.
- Age and health. If you're older and suffer from major health complications, you may need more financial help. That may sway the court in favor of a higher or lengthier award of support.
- Expected annual earnings. Both present and potential future earnings influence the judge's decision. Although you may be earning very little now, your ability to secure employment in the future may limit the length of maintenance.
- Pursuing further education or training. It takes time to become financially independent. In recognition of that, the courts provide a financial buffer in the form of maintenance but, usually, only for the amount of time it takes to pursue the education or training needed to start a successful career.
- Whether the other spouse interfered with the other to earn a living. Was the marriage marred by domestic violence, or did one spouse demand the other you stay at home? Did he or she impede the other's ability to maintain financial stability or career success in any way? The court will take those factors into consideration.
If a judge rules in favor of granting spousal maintenance, there are three types of spousal maintenance that can be ordered.
Types of Maintenance (Alimony) in New York
The three types of spousal maintenance are:
- Temporary maintenance - Temporary maintenance ends once the divorce is finalized, at which point a judge can make a final decision concerning spousal maintenance. Just because a spouse was receiving temporary maintenance, it doesn’t mean they will receive permanent maintenance, and vice versa.
- Durational maintenance - If the judge chooses to grant post-divorce support, he may order durational maintenance, which is support that is granted for a fixed period of time to enable the dependent spouse to fulfill necessary needs such as finishing an education program.
- Permanent maintenance - The judge could decide to grant permanent support, which would only come to an end once the dependent spouse remarries or passes away.
For permanent or post-divorce maintenance, there is a fixed formula that will be used to determine the amount awarded to the supported spouse, though this amount can be changed if the court finds it to be “unjust or inappropriate.” If there’s a significant change in circumstances, creating financial hardship, permanent maintenance may be modified or terminated.
In general, spousal maintenance payments will decrease to the extent that you're able to secure a job, earn an independent living, and take care of all dependents. The support will increase to the extent that you'll face an uphill struggle to establish an independent life. Other factors include the division of property during the divorce, child care responsibilities, tax consequences, and even special circumstances that are unique to the case at hand.
Our Suffolk County spousal maintenance lawyers have years of experience successfully representing clients who are seeking spousal maintenance or defending against it. Call MONTEFUSCO | PAMMER today at (631) 801-0007.
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