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Spousal Support

Information from a Suffolk County Divorce Attorney

Spousal support, also commonly referred to as alimony, is a legal mandate which requires one spouse of a divorcing couple to provide financial support to the other spouse. This mandate is made only after one of New York's courts has thoroughly reviewed the conditions of the marriage that is currently under dissolution.

Spousal support is considered to be a legal order, which means that adhering to the payments expected of you through spousal support is equally as important as abiding by any other legal direction that would otherwise govern your actions. Therefore, you need to be sure early on that the support schedule that is established on your behalf is one that properly represents your ability to pay, or conversely, the amount that should be paid to you.

Since the concept of spousal support first surfaced, New York's definition of marriage has changed, thus calling for amendments and additions to the original terms and conditions of the first spousal support awards that were made in New York. Now, approximately 20 different factors are considered before the court will readily make an award of spousal support.

To help you better understand this complicated process, our Suffolk County divorce lawyer describes the process in detail below.

Temporary Support vs. Permanent Support

Temporary Support is a determination by the court or by agreement of a married couple as to how marital bills will be paid and the amount of direct monies to be paid by one spouse to the other while the divorce is pending. Permanent Support (this is not lifetime support) is a determination of spousal support to be paid upon the signing of a Settlement Agreement or upon the determination of the court for a specific duration after the divorce is granted.

Often temporary support is greater than the final spousal support amount due to the need to preserve marital assets during the divorce. Often a spouse may have to contribute to the mortgage on the marital residence while the divorce is pending even if they are not residing in the house.

Once the divorce is granted instead of contributing to the mortgage, a set sum of money is paid and the person living in the house is responsible to pay the mortgage. If the person living in the house cannot afford the mortgage then the house will usually be listed for sale. It is common for the paying spouse’s obligations to be less after divorce then while the case was proceeding.

Factors Used to Establish Spousal Support in New York

As noted above, there are many factors that must be considered before the court will oblige the request for spousal support. Therefore, it is critical that persons who are seeking support, as well as those who wish to avoid making unnecessary payments to an ex-spouse, immediately seek the representation of an attorney.

At the law office of Steven P. Kuhn, Attorney at Law, we are more than familiar with the different aspects that are reviewed by the courts prior to the establishment of a spousal support plan. As such, we are prepared to assist our clients in their efforts to ensure that the proposed plan is one that accurately meets their needs.

Divorcing individuals who are seeking spousal support can expect the courts to review the following circumstances:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Income and property ownership of each spouse
  • Present and future earning capacity of each spouse
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Level of education and training of each spouse
  • Living conditions prior to divorce, i.e. single-home or joint-home living
  • Potential tax consequences experienced by each spouse
  • Ability of maintenance-seeker to become self-supporting
  • Actions of one spouse which might have inhibited the other's ability to seek employment
  • Where the children live
  • Inhibitions to earning capacity that are caused by child care or ongoing adult care
  • The ability to find work based on age and experience
  • Expenses of the children
  • Homemaker contributions of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • Distribution of property, i.e. was it equitable?
  • Loss of health insurance or inability to obtain health insurance
  • Transference of assets

This extensive list can be added to at any time that the court sees fit. If another factor arises and the court expressly finds it to be fitting and proper, it will then be taken into consideration before a decision concerning spousal support is made. Given the high volume of aspects that will be considered before spousal support is awarded or denied, you can expect the process to take time. The court will not issue a decision until they feel confident that all facets have been reviewed regarding the impending decision.

Contact Steven P. Kuhn for Legal Assistance

The state of New York takes spousal support very seriously, and so do the professionals at our office. When you work with a divorce attorney from the law firm of Steven P. Kuhn, you will be under the professional representation of an attorney whose practice spans more than three decades.

The legal services that we provide to our clients cannot be matched, because we offer tailor-made representation with a personal touch. If you're seeking spousal support or you want to make sure that you are not asked to pay more than should be expected of you, contact our office.

Schedule a free consultation with our firm to discuss the aspects of your case and the best way to move forward.

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