Spousal support is a key part of any divorce or legal separation. In a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce, this issue will need to be addressed. Your divorce attorney will play a big part in the outcome of this – and thus it is important to choose an attorney who will be able to use experience, persistence, and dedication in order to successfully represent you during negotiations or in court.
In the state of New York, the courts can award maintenance to one spouse. Maintenance also referred to as “alimony” and “spousal support”, is presented in the form of a monetary payment from one spouse to another. Either spouse, male or female, can be ordered to pay maintenance to their spouse by the court. The monetary payment can be awarded over time or in one large sum.
The court has broad discretion to award any amount of money that is necessary for the support of the recipient spouse as long as the court’s decision is based on the facts and the circumstances existing at the time the award is granted. The facts are integral and carefully reviewed. Your attorney will play a big part in showing the necessary information and facts to help you reach the goals you are hoping for in regards to maintenance payments. The judge will examine the following before awarding spousal support:
- The length of the marriage
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
- Age and health of the parties
- Occupations of the parties and their incomes
- Sources of income
- Vocational skills and employability of the spouses
- Assets and debts of the parties
- Any special needs of the parties
- The opportunity of the parties to acquire future income and assets.
In New York, there are three types of spousal support: permanent, rehabilitative, and restitutional:
- Permanent Alimony is a payment for things such as food, housing, clothing, and other provisions of a spouse. If a spouse is requesting permanent alimony, they must prove their need for support. Permanent alimony, once awarded, remains in effect indefinitely or until there is a change in circumstances, which may lead to a review of the arrangement.
- Rehabilitative Alimony is a payment designed to provide the necessary support to enable a spouse to refresh or develop job skills that will allow them to secure a vocation. This is a common form of alimony and it is temporary.
- Restitutional Alimony is a repayment of support given to a spouse while they were pursuing their education or enhancing vocational skills. Restitutional alimony is temporary.
Spousal support is often one of the most difficult situations to deal with in the divorce process because it affects the current and future lifestyles of both spouses. No one wants to be hindered financially by the payment or lack of alimony.
Brian D. Perskin is a divorce attorney based in New York City.