Trusted Syracuse Attorney Pursues Fair Spousal Maintenance Terms
Dedicated advocate represents paying and recipient parties
If you are anticipating dissolving your marriage and are not sure how you will pay your bills without your spouse’s salary, Bombardo Law Office, P.C. can help. I have 27 years of experience as a Syracuse divorce lawyer negotiating and litigating financial disputes between couples. My firm delivers thorough representation to dependent spouses and those who are being asked to provide spousal maintenance payments. A wife or husband who presently lacks the ability to support themselves financially does not need to wait until the divorce is finalized to start to receiving regular payments. However, no matter how compelling your case is, you must formally request payments from the court. My firm guides clients through tough times and protects their interests during settlement negotiation and in litigation, if necessary.
The purpose of spousal support in New York
What many people refer to as alimony is now called spousal maintenance under New York law. These post-divorce payments are usually meant to rehabilitate the recipient spouse’s ability to earn a suitable living. Accordingly, the payments are typically limited in duration. They might last long enough for someone who previously was a stay-at-home spouse to regain their employment skills or get the education they need to secure a job that enables them to become self-supporting. However, in long-term marriages, the court has the authority to award maintenance lasting until the death or remarriage of the recipient spouse in limited circumstances. This area of law is quite complex because there are 12 factors the court must consider when making an award of maintenance. I often guide maintenance petitioners through this complex process. Whether you’re a potential alimony provider or recipient, I'm happy to provide in-depth counsel and aggressive representation to you so that we can resolve your financial concerns and help you gain peace of mind.
Factors used by courts in alimony determinations
When a spousal maintenance determination is left to the judge, he or she can review any relevant factor to make their decision. A key factor is the duration of the marriage. Under state guidelines, if alimony is to be granted, the period during which payments must be paid usually is defined as a percentage of the time the marriage lasted. For example, when a marriage lasts 15 years or fewer, maintenance would be required for a period that is between 15 and 30 percent of the time the couple was wed. When a divorcing couple was married 27 years longer, the percentage range increases. In those situations, the guideline timeframe is between 35 and 50 percent of the marriage’s duration.
Other factors that often affect spousal maintenance determinations include:
- Age, health and earning capacity — When assessing if and when a divorced spouse can meet their own financial needs, age and health are primary considerations. The guidelines might not be appropriate for someone who is unable to enter the job market due to their advanced age or a disability.
- Property division and custody arrangements — An adjustment in the guideline spousal maintenance figure is made when the recipient spouse is also collecting child support as the custodial parent. The property division order in a divorce can also affect the maintenance amount. Parents who must stay home to provide child care, particularly for a special needs son or daughter, might also receive more favorable alimony terms.
- Squandering of marital assets — Though maintenance determinations are not meant to punish spouses for misconduct such as adultery, a husband or wife who used marital funds to carry on their affair could face adverse consequences.
In New York State, those still legally married but in the process of separating or divorcing can obtain temporary spousal support, also known as pendente lite maintenance. These payments are typically based on a formula and last until the marriage dissolution proceeding ends.
Contact a skillful New York divorce lawyer regarding your spousal maintenance issue
Bombardo Law Office, P.C. represents Central New York spouses in negotiations and litigation relating to spousal maintenance and other divorce matters. To make an appointment for a consultation, please call 315-488-5544 or contact me online. My office is in Syracuse.