Alimony is a type of payment that one spouse pays to another throughout divorce proceedings or after a divorce has been finalized. In New York, alimony payments that are made while a couple is divorcing are referred to as spousal support, while payments that are made after a divorce is finalized are known as spousal maintenance. Understanding both types of payments can help to understand the purpose of alimony, which is to provide support for one spouse in order to allow them time to become self-sufficient financially.
Determining the type, duration, and amount that is required in alimony payments is a matter of the circumstances surrounding each case. Here we will explore the types of alimony to empower you throughout the process.
There are two types of alimony in New York:
If it is decided that alimony should be paid, the court could order payments both on a temporary basis and then as post-divorce maintenance. The award of one does not negate the order of the other.
When the court determines that temporary maintenance is to be awarded, they will use a statutory formula that calculates a suggested amount of temporary support. Using the formula, courts can keep consistent with their determinations in order to avoid any discrepancies. However, judges do have the authority to award an amount outside of the guidelines, but they must show that the calculated award may be considered unjust or inappropriate.
The calculation for temporary maintenance considers the following factors:
The amount of the temporary maintenance award does not have an impact on any post-divorce award that either party is granted. Temporary maintenance payments end when either the divorce is finalized or one spouse dies.
Like temporary maintenance, the courts will use a formula to arrive at a constant determination from case to case. However, judges have more discretion in deciding how much maintenance should be awarded as there are more long-term factors to be considered. Additionally, judges want to be sure that payments are just and appropriate. Factors that judges will take into consideration include:
These factors, and others, play a role in the final determination of the amount of spousal maintenance one party may be forced to pay the other.
A: There are two types of alimony in New York. The first type is awarded during the divorce process and is known as temporary maintenance. This type of alimony ceases when the final divorce decision is made in court. The second type of alimony is post-divorce spousal maintenance. One does not have an impact on the other, and a spouse could be awarded both.
A: Post-divorce spousal maintenance is determined by the length of the marriage. The calculation states that if a marriage is between 0 and 15 years, the maintenance could last for 15-30% of the marriage, 15 to 20 years is 30-40% of the time, and more than 20 years could be up to 50% of the time. This is then impacted by other factors that a judge will take into account.
A: The calculation for spousal maintenance is capped at $203,000 to determine the amount that the spouse may need to pay. If there is an additional award over the cap, then it is at the discretion of the court to make the determination. Many factors, including age, health, income capacity, and more, will play a role in that.
A: New York does not have a specific amount of time that a couple must be married before either spouse qualifies for spousal maintenance. The formula to calculate spousal maintenance allows for less than a year of marriage; however, the odds of earning spousal maintenance are minimal in that time. The longer a couple is married, the more likely spousal maintenance will be awarded.
If you are facing a divorce or already have a spousal maintenance agreement in place, you may have questions about what you may qualify for, what you may need to pay, or how to modify current payments. No matter what questions you have, the attorneys at the Trotto Law Firm, P.C. are available and ready to answer your questions. Contact our offices today and let our attorneys help you make sense of New York alimony.
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