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Long Island Spousal Maintenance Attorney

What is spousal maintenance?

When a couple chooses to divorce, they will need to sit down and discuss a number of areas of how they will divide up their lives. For those that are unable to do this together, the court will be ready to step in and make the decision for them. A divorce separates many parts of a couples lives together and it is important that this is handled in the right way. One of the main areas that are considered relate to their shared finances. Each couple has a different story when it comes to monetary issues. This can play a large role in a divorce when it must be decided how to address this topic. One facet of this is in regards to spousal maintenance.

What is maintenance?

Spousal maintenance, also commonly known as spousal support, is payment from one spouse to the other. It will typically be the one that has been determined as dependent; relying on the other spouse for financial support or assistance. It can come in different forms, depending on what is found to be fair. A couple can choose the terms of maintenance themselves, if they can find an amount that they believe is fair for both parties. Many divorcing couples are unable to do this, as it is common for them to be in disagreement, along with having emotions run high. For those that are unable to make the decision on their own, a judge will review the case and come to a call that they find suitable for both sides.

How the Court Makes a Decision

When making this decision, the court will take multiple factors into consideration and each case is assessed on an individual basis.

Both parties will be reviewed and the following aspects taken into account:

  • Financial standing
  • Income of both
  • Tax consequences
  • Waste of marital property by either party
  • Loss of health benefits by one after termination of marriage
  • Earning ability
  • Skills
  • Contribution to the marriage
  • Age and health
  • Length of the marriage
  • Likelihood of retaining a job
  • Competitiveness on the job market
  • Standard of living established during marriage

    The court will greatly consider if a spouse is able to gain a job or if they will need ongoing support. Support can be ordered in a few ways. It may be in one sum or on a continuing basis for either a set period of time or long term. Maintenance can continue on for life and this is covered in DRL 236 B(6)(c). Sometimes a spouse is able to retain a job but will need financial help until then. They may also be finishing school or a skills program and support can continue until this is finalized.

    Retaining or Avoiding Maintenance

    It is important in these cases that a clear side of your story is given. Whether you are looking to receive payment or avoid paying, you want the court to see valid reason to rule in your favor. Since the court's main concern is assessing if it seems fair and valid to award support, you need an attorney that can drive home your side of a case. This may be showing that the other person is capable of gaining employment and supporting themselves, or showing that you are a dependent that is reliant on your soon to be former spouse to cover your basic needs. Temporary maintenance or pendente lite can be pursued for a divorce that is still in the process. This will be based off the reasonable needs that one spouse has. In cases where a decision has already been made and a divorce is finalized, any changes to maintenance must be done legally rather than through a spoken agreement between you and the other party. This can lead to legal ramifications and will leave you unprotected.

    At our firm we come skilled in family law matters, as well as dealing with financial issues. If you are divorcing and looking to retain a certain outcome in regards to spousal maintenance, do not hesitate to get in contact with a family law attorney at our firm. This is an important area of the law that requires the skill and close attention of a qualified professional. We will review your case thoroughly to determine how to proceed forward whether you are looking to retain support or avoid paying it. Financial issues are some of the most critical and you do not want to leave yourself susceptible to an outcome that is detrimental to you or your family.

    Are you in need of a Long Island family lawyer? Contact The Law Office of Michael J. Brescia, P.C. today. Call (631) 386-8767!

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