Spousal support and spousal maintenance are an issue in many legal separation and divorce cases. Awards for support are not automatic in every divorce case in New York.
Spousal support is awarded by a family court during the course of the divorce process. Both spouses have a legal duty to support one another, which is why the Family Court Act allows support proceedings to be started by a married person.
Awards for spousal support are pursued in family court because the couple is not yet divorced, but the other party is not meeting his or her support needs.
Some people use the terms alimony, spousal support and spousal maintenance interchangeably but in New York, there is an important difference. While they all have to do with one spouse paying payments to another, in New York spousal support is paid while the couple is still married and spousal maintenance is paid after the divorce is finalized.
Spousal support is awarded in family court and since married couples have a duty to support each other, there is no requirement that the parties are separated before a court can award spousal support. When family court awards spousal support, there is no time limit for the award. This means the spousal support can last many years. Providing neither spouse seeks a modification, the spousal support will only end upon divorce.
When a couple gets a divorce, the court will decide whether or not to award spousal maintenance. Once it is set, it will either be set for life or the award will be set for a fixed number of years. Spousal maintenance in New York is gender neutral, thus an award can go to a man or a woman, though women do tend to be awarded spousal maintenance far more often than men due to the fact that men in general earn more than women.
When the court makes decisions about whether to award spousal support or alimony, the court will assess the past, present, and future lives of all parties. Some of the important factors that the court will consider include:
Because there are so many factors that can affect the size and duration of spousal support, having the aid of a legal professional familiar with such proceedings is a significant advantage. Divorce proceedings are a financial strain by themselves. Having the guidance and negotiation skills of an experienced attorney can help ensure that you receive the spousal support you deserve.
Cheating is one of the most common reasons why people get divorced. Some "no-fault" states such as California don't consider cheating in a divorce case. However, in New York, the court may consider evidence of adultery depending on the case.
New York law defines adultery as a spouse having sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse. To seek a divorce based on adultery, one must be able to provide evidence of the cheating from a third-party such as a private investigator.
Alimony is awarded on a case-by-case basis and is determined by a variety of factors including as listed above.
Marital misconduct, including adultery is not usually considered by the court when dividing property and awarding alimony.
However, if a spouse commits adultery and spends a good portion of the marital assets on the lover; for example, expensive gifts, vacations, hotel rooms, or even rent money, the judge may find such behavior to be a "wasteful dissipation" of the marital assets. When this happens, any such adulterous activity may become a factor when a judge considers awarding alimony.
our firm has represented clients who are seeking to receive spousal support or maintenance, and who have been ordered to pay support. In addition, we have successfully negotiated practical and favorable arrangements for our clients.
Do you need an attorney for a spousal support case in Long Island? We are comprised of professional legal personnel who serve clients throughout Long Island. As you pursue spousal support or maintenance, or if support is being pursued from you, our firm can take actions to protect your life.