When a couple goes through a divorce, they have to settle many legal matters before the divorce is official. An important part of divorce proceedings is determining spousal maintenance. This is also known as alimony. Spousal maintenance is court-ordered financial support from one spouse to another. These payments are made for a period of time once a divorce is final in order to support a dependent spouse. Sometimes, there are situations in a marriage that leave one spouse in an unfair financial situation after a divorce. This may be if one spouse is a caretaker while the other the family provider. In the event of this, the caretaker may not have a salary of their own to start fresh with. Spousal maintenance allows the dependent spouse an opportunity to rebuild their lives without experiencing financial difficulties.
Determining Spousal Maintenance
Divorce can often be very difficult and marriages do not end with spouses on good terms. This can cause the topic of spousal maintenance to become difficult if one spouse does not want to support the other. Because of this, spouses do not determine alimony. The court makes all decisions regarding support payments. In order to reach a decision regarding maintenance, there is a tentative system in place to determine an amount. In the state of New York, spousal maintenance may be ordered:
- For 15% to 30% of a marriage that lasted under 15 years
- For 30% to 40% of a marriage that lasted between 16 and 20 years
- For 35% to 50% of a marriage that lasted 20 years or longer
When determining spousal maintenance, the court also considers several different factors besides the length of a marriage. This may include:
- The income of each spouse.
- Any property that is owned between the two, marital and separate.
- The health and age of each spouse can affect the amount of support
- The earning potential of both spouses determines how support should be decided
- If the dependent spouse needs funding to pursue further training or education in order to obtain independence from the other spouse
- If the dependent spouse deferred their life goals in order to support and better the family through the other spouse’s education and success
- If a spouse has an obligation to take care of another family member, this can affect the amount of maintenance
When spouses file for divorce, they often wonder if fault grounds will affect the outcome of their marital issues. It is a common misconception that if one spouse is at fault for the end of the marriage, a judge’s decisions will be swayed. Despite this, in New York, courts usually do not consider fault grounds while determining spousal maintenance. However, a judge may consider if there is an economic fault. It a spouse is irresponsible in handling finances or properties, it may play a part in determining spousal maintenance.
Contact our Firm
If you are going through a divorce and wish to know your options regarding alimony, contact The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.
Matters of divorce and family law should be navigated with the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.