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Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan, P.C.
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Commack Spousal Support Attorney

Married spouses are supposed to support each other financially. If they are divorcing or divorced, it might be proper to continue this obligation for a time depending on the length of the divorce and other factors. The Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan can advise you and represent you if you are negotiating spousal support with your partner or if you are seeking or opposing a court order for spousal support in Family Court or maintenance in Supreme Court. Contact our experienced Commack spousal support attorney today to discuss your needs regarding spousal support or alimony (maintenance) in a New York divorce.

How Spousal Support Is Determined in New York

New York matrimonial law uses different terms to refer to different types of support. “Spousal support” is financial support between married couples. You can petition for a court order of spousal support in Family Court. Maintenance is the term used to refer to support paid by one party to another during or after a divorce, which is filed in New York Supreme Court. Maintenance used to be called alimony, and many people still use this term as it is more widely known, although in court you will hear it referred to as maintenance.

A party can seek temporary maintenance during a divorce to cover their immediate financial needs while the proceedings are ongoing. The court will use a formula based on the parties’ incomes, the length of the marriage, and the standard of living established during the marriage to arrive at an amount of temporary maintenance. The formula amount is presumed to be correct, but a different amount can be chosen if the judge is convinced the formula amount is unjust or inappropriate.

Similarly, the court can order maintenance to be paid from one former spouse to another for a period after the divorce. An income-based formula is used to come up with a presumptive amount and length of time for maintenance. It’s important to know that either spouse can pay or receive maintenance; gone are the days when a husband automatically owed alimony to a wife in a divorce.

The way the maintenance formula works, the duration of maintenance payments depends on the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted up to 15 years, maintenance payments will last for 15-30% of the length of the marriage. For marriages between 15 and 20 years, payments will be made between 30 and 40% of the marriage’s duration. If the marriage lasted more than 20 years, then maintenance payments will continue for 35-50% of the length of the marriage. In other words, for a marriage that lasted 30 years, a former spouse could be ordered to make monthly maintenance payments for the following 15 years.

Regardless of how long they are ordered for, maintenance payments terminate if the receiving spouse remarries or dies.

As for the amount of maintenance, different formulas are used depending on whether child support is being paid and whether the payor is the non-custodial parent. The formula could be 20% of the payor’s income less 25% of the payee’s income, or 30% of the payor’s income less 20% of the payee’s income. A low-income adjustment is also built into the formula and may be available.

How the Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan Can Help With Maintenance Calculations

If income exceeds $184,000, or if the formula amount is considered unjust or inappropriate, the court will analyze 15 different factors to come up with an appropriate amount. The Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan can help you seek or challenge an adjustment from the formula amount by building a strong case to persuade the judge of a fair amount based on the following factors:

  • The age and health of the parties
  • The present or future earning capacity of the parties, including a history of limited participation in the workforce
  • The need of one party to incur education or training expenses
  • The termination of a child support award during the pendency of the temporary maintenance award when the calculation of temporary maintenance was based upon child support being awarded and which resulted in a maintenance award lower than it would have been had child support not been awarded
  • The wasteful dissipation of marital property, including transfers or encumbrances made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration
  • 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 acts include but are not limited to acts of domestic violence as provided in section four hundred fifty‐nine‐a of the social services law;
  • The availability and cost of medical insurance for the parties
  • The care of children or stepchildren, disabled adult children or stepchildren, elderly parents or in‐laws provided during the marriage that inhibits a party’s earning capacity
  • The tax consequences to each party
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
  • The reduced or lost earning capacity of the payee as a result of having forgone or delayed education, training, employment or career opportunities during the marriage
  • The equitable distribution of marital property and the income or imputed income on the assets so distributed
  • The contributions and services of the payee as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker and to the career or career potential of the other party
  • Any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper

Contact the Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan Today

Convincing the court that maintenance is necessary or not needed, or arguing for or against a deviation from the formula amount, requires the help of a knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated New York divorce lawyer. The Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan is prepared to advise and represent you in settlement talks or advocate for you in court to help you achieve a result that meets your specific needs. Call our experienced Commack spousal support lawyer today.

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