Throughout a marriage, a husband or wife may come to rely on the other partner’s financial contribution to the relationship. In order to maintain this level or financial stability during separation and divorce, one party may be entitled to receive spousal support or spousal maintenance.
Your Right to Support Payments
Spousal support is not part of every divorce. If both parties are employed and can be self-supporting, there may be no need for spousal support. If spousal support is appropriate, it is set by agreement or court order in an amount and duration appropriate to the particular circumstances.
Temporary spousal support can be ordered or mutually agreed until the completion of divorce proceedings in Supreme Court or support proceedings in Family Court. A final support determination sets the amount to be paid, on a weekly or monthly basis, by one spouse to the other. The support can be for a specific number of years or until the supported spouse becomes self-sufficient.
In some cases, spousal support can continue until the retirement of the payor spouse or the supported spouse. Unless agreed otherwise, remarriage of the supported spouse terminates support.
Factors Considered by the Court
The court considers many factors when deciding spousal support including:
- Income and property of each spouse
- Wasteful dissipation of marital assets by either spouse
- Earning capacity of each part
- Duration of marriage
- Presence of children
- Ability of party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting
- Tax consequences to each spouse
New Law Affects Spousal Support
Although the recently-enacted no fault-divorce law has attracted the attention of many New Yorkers, there is a change in the law of temporary spousal support that affects divorces in White Plains and throughout New York state. This law establishes a formula for judges to use when parties seek temporary spousal support during a divorce proceeding.
The formula relies upon mathematical computations of the relative incomes of the parties, rather than the multiple factors listed above. Permanent spousal support is not dependent on this formula.