If you are headed for a divorce and you live on Long Island or anywhere else in New York, you will want to learn about spousal maintenance, otherwise known as alimony. Spousal maintenance is not automatic in a New York divorce; it is awarded on a case-by-case basis.
In the last twenty years, American culture has changed significantly. Since we have more two-income households and situations where the mother is the breadwinner and the father is the stay-at-home parent, New York's divorce laws have changed accordingly. Today, spousal maintenance is gender neutral, and can be awarded to both husbands and wives in a New York divorce.
When determining maintenance, the court will first apply the guideline calculations based on the statutory formula. When deciding whether to deviate from the maintenance guideline amount, the court will look at a number of factors, including:
- The income and property of each spouse
- The parties' lifestyle
- Any history of domestic violence
- The duration of the couple's marriage
- The lower-earning spouse's need for maintenance
- The higher-earning spouse's ability to pay maintenance
- The age and health of both spouses
- A lower-earning spouse's need for additional education or training to obtain a good job
- The earning capacity of the lower-earning spouse
- Whether the lower-earning spouse has been out of the workforce for a long time
- The division of marital assets
- Any contributions as a homemaker or stay-at-home parent
- All other relevant factors
Generally, spousal maintenance ends when: 1) a judge says it ends, 2) the receiving spouse remarries, or 3) either spouse passes away. Spousal support is taxable to the recipient and tax-deductible by the payor. Your matrimonial counsel should discuss with you at the initial consultation what the guideline maintenance amount will be and the expected duration of support.
If you are looking for a Long Island divorce lawyer, contact Samuelson Hause & Samuelson, LLP to work with a firm recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Top Tier Family Law Firm.