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Can I get spousal maintenance?

Spousal support or spousal maintenance, or what used to be called alimony, are payments made by one spouse to the other. Spousal maintenance or support is intended to assist a spouse who, for any number of reasons, does not have the same earning capacity as the other. It is intended either to rehabilitate the lesser income earning spouse so that the spouse can reenter the workforce, or, to maintain the standard of living each spouse was accustomed to during the marriage. Spousal maintenance can be ordered by the Court during the course of the divorce proceedings, called Temporary Spousal Maintenance, to ensure the spouse with no or less income can meet their financial needs. In 2010, New York State passed a law that provides guidelines for the courts to use when determining spousal support amounts.

To learn more about what you need to know about spousal maintenance (alimony) on Long Island and how to get help to protect yourself and your future visit this page: Spousal Maintenance / Alimony on Long Island, NY. For a free consultation regarding your spousal support, spousal maintenance or alimony needs, please give the Law Office of Robert E. Hornberger a call at 631-923-1910. We’ll be happy to help.

What is the Equitable Distribution Law?

New York courts consider marriage to be both a social relationship and an economic one and the state’s Equitable Distribution Law attempts to recognize this by requiring judges to divide a couple’s property fairly.

The law recognizes a married couple’s property as either Marital Property or Separate Property. Marital Property is divided equitably between the spouses.

Marital Property is any and all property the spouses purchased during the marriage, no matter who did the actual purchasing or whose name is on the property (as in the case of a automobile), unless the property is obtained during the marriage as the result of a gift, an inheritance, for the compensation for a personal injury, or, in exchange for the spouse’s separate property. Even pension or other retirement plans are considered marital property by the courts.

Separate Property is considered any and all property a spouse owned before the marriage. Separate property can also include inheritances, gifts (other than those given by the other spouse) and personal injury payments “earned” during the marriage.

According to Domestic relations law § 236(B)(5)(d), the courts must consider a number of factors in making decisions regarding marital property:

  • Each spouse’s income and property when they were married and when they started their divorce proceedings.
  • The length of the marriage and the age of the respective spouses.
  • The needs of the spouse with custody of the children to own or occupy the marital residence and its household effects.
  • The loss of pension, health insurance benefits or inheritance rights upon dissolution of the marriage.
  • Any Spousal Maintenance awarded by the courts.
  • Claims, interest or contributions made in acquiring marital property not in their name.
  • The career potential of each spouse.
  • The liquidity of the marital property.
  • The Likely financial future circumstances of each spouse.
  • The difficulty or impossibility of evaluating of businesses, business assets and interest and the desire to maintain that business free from interference or claims by the other spouse.
  • Tax consequences to each spouse.
  • Actions taken by either spouse which are considered wasteful of the marital assets or property.
  • The courts will also take into consideration other factors and situations that are unique to the case in order to determine a resolution that is just and proper to each spouse.

How does a court calculate child support?

New York State courts use a number of criteria in determining fair child support payments, including:

Each parent’s net income, not including FICA, NYC or Yonkers income tax, spousal maintenance or support, and child support payments for other children.

The court adds each parent’s net income together and multiplies is by a percentage dependent upon the number of their children, as follows:

  • 17% for one child
  • 25% for two children
  • 29% for three children
  • 31% for four children
  • No less than 35% for five or more children

If the parent’s combined income is $136,000 or lower, this number is then divided based upon the proportion of each parent’s net income to the combined income of both parents.

If the parents’ combined income exceeds $136,000, the court can then decide whether to apply the same formula to the income above $136,000.

Spouses may also be required to pay for other child care, education and medical expenses for the children in addition to the basic child support obligation.

Find more information on Child Support here.