Maximizing Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) Payments with an Attorney

Maximizing Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) Payments with an Attorney

man giving alimony to his ex-family at home

Spousal maintenance (‘alimony”) is a type of support that a court may order one spouse or former spouse to pay to the other spouse or former spouse. The purpose of spousal maintenance to help the economically disadvantaged spouse maintain his or her standard of living after a divorce.

Spousal maintenance may be ordered for a set period, or in rare cases in New York, it may be ordered as permanent support.   Prior to October 26, 2015, the Court would consider certain factors in making an alimony award, which included the length of the marriage, the financial resources of each spouse, the earning capacity of each spouse, the age and health of each spouse, and the contributions that each spouse made to the marriage.  In sum, the emphasis by the Court was on the needs of the economically disadvantaged spouse, more than the ability of the advantaged spouse to pay. 

Since October 26, 2015, New York has had a presumptive formula to decide how much support or “temporary maintenance” should be paid. Temporary maintenance is maintenance paid in the time between the commencement of a divorce action and the issuance of a judgment of divorce. On January 25, 2016, a new law took effect setting presumptive amounts and length of time for maintenance after a divorce.  Post-divorce maintenance is maintenance paid after the parties are divorced and for a duration determined by agreement of the parties or by decision of the court. The statutory maintenance formula, as amended in 2015, is used to determine the guideline amounts of both:

 Both calculations are strictly applied to an income cap up to $203,000.00. 

The percentages used in the 1st calculation are determined as follows:

 If child support is to be paid, and the maintenance payor is not the custodial parent (i.e., the maintenance payor is also the child support payor), 25% of payee’s income is subtracted from 20% of payor’s income.

If child support is not to be paid, or, if child support is to be paid, but the maintenance payor is the custodial parent (i.e., the maintenance payor is not the child support payor), 20% of payee’s income is subtracted from 30% of payor’s income.

The “payor” is the spouse with the higher income.

 In a litigated divorce, the court may deviate from the guideline amount of temporary or post-divorce maintenance at or below the income cap if it finds that, upon consideration of one or more of the factors set forth in DRL § 236(B)(5-a) (h)(1) or DRL § 236(B)(6)(e)(1), respectively, strict application of the statutory formula would be unjust or inappropriate.

With or without the application of the Advisory Schedule, the court must consider any one or more of the factors set forth in DRL § 236(B)(6)(e)(1) in determining the duration of post-divorce maintenance

Some ways Garden City lawyers can help to maximize the amount of alimony you can receive include:

  1. Ensure that full financial disclosure is made by both parties. 

2. The most important factor in deciding if you are entitled to alimony is the difference in your incomes.   You will need tax returns, w-2 forms, 1099, and any other documentation which proves income and or ability to earn income based upon past earnings. 

3.  Exploring the possibility of a lump sum payment instead of periodic payments.  

When negotiating the terms of alimony, it is important to consider whether to agree to a lump-sum payment or periodic payments. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option, and the best choice depends on the individual circumstances of the divorcing couple.

4.  Separation attorneys Garden City NY can negotiate terms that are favorable to you and that meet your unique needs and circumstances.

 If you are seeking alimony, it is important to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer garden city who can help you understand your rights and options.

Fass & Greenberg practices Divorce Law Garden City NY and can help you with your alimony case. Their team of Garden City divorce attorneys understands the unique circumstances of each case and can help you negotiate terms that are favorable to you and that meet your unique needs and circumstances.

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