Archive for the ‘Spousal Support’ Category

Is Spousal Support Affected If My Ex Quits Their Jobs?

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

If the spouse who has been ordered to pay child support experiences a significant reduction in their income, like through a demotion or a loss of work, it is not always enough to reduce child support. This type of circumstance, however, can impact spousal support. Regardless, there have been many instances where the loss of work is the result of the supporter quitting or voluntarily leaving, which in some cases is used as a ploy to get a reduction in support requirements.

As made clear in the Federal Child Support Guidelines, the court may attribute income to a spouse, regardless if income is being earned or not. With regard to imputing income, one of the circumstances considered when a court is planning to award spousal support are if the spouse is intentionally underemployed or unemployed, other than instances where the underemployment or unemployment is required by the needs of a child of the marriage or any child under the age of majority, or due to reasonable educational or health needs of the spouse. Moreover, the courts really don’t like when a parent tries to evade support obligations, especially child support.

In the end, quitting your job is a deliberate choice, and not an unfortunate circumstance, and so most judges are going to be very unwilling to significantly lower or even end spousal support obligations. Some courts will even impute income based on how much the payer could realistically earn had they still been employed. This means that those receiving payments should not be overly worried if their ex quits their job, and that those paying spousal support should strongly reconsider quitting their job in an attempt to avoid spousal support.  

Can I Get Spousal Support If My Spouse Cheated On Me?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

While infidelity, or adultery, as grounds for divorce in New York, it actually has little to no impact on a financial settlement handed down by the court. Of course, you can still file for alimony and be awarded what you seek, but just know that the adultery itself will not be used as a mitigating factor when determining if you are entitled to support, and how much.

In New York, the law defines adultery as “a married person having sexual intercourse with another person, who is not his or her spouse”. Because adultery is a “fault divorce” ground, you will be required to prove that there was adultery from an outside party, usually a hired private investigator.

With regard to alimony, the court uses this list in order to determine if alimony will be awarded, and how much is to be paid out.

– Length of the marriage, including any time the couple lived together before and after the marriage

– Contributions and services by the spouse seeking alimony, such as homemaker contributions

– Age and health of both spouses

– Need for one spouse to gain education or training, and how long this might take

– Income and property of both spouses

– Acts that prevent a spouse’s ability to gain employment or increase earning ability (for example, mental or physical abuse)

– Any need to pay for exceptional expenses, such as schooling and medical care for children

– Where children from the marriage live

– Present and future earning ability of each spouse, including reduced ability of one spouse due to delaying of education or career opportunities, and inability to earn due to age or absence from workforce

– What property was awarded during equitable distribution

There are a few others that belong on the list, but what is important here to understand that adultery, proven or otherwise, is not on this list, because it is not a factor in alimony decisions. Simply, adultery does not ensure alimony, and while although the court does take into consideration egregious and heinous acts when deciding over awarding alimony,  they do not consider adultery either of those things. The only time adultery comes into play with respect to financial settlements is if marital funds are spent on the spouses’ lover.


Is Alimony Taxable Or Non-Taxable?

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Many spouses who find themselves paying spousal support want to know the tax implications that are applied. In short, spousal support must be reported as taxable income by the recipient, and can be deducted by the paying spouse. Do not confuse this with child support, as it is neither taxable nor is it deductible.

If there is an increase in tax for the spouse receiving the payments, it can usually be offset by the significant tax savings by the paying spouse, and at that point, if deemed necessary, they can make an additional payment to the receiving spouse to make up the difference. So in short, yes, alimony is taxable, although you can arrange for it to be both non-taxable as well as nondeductible, but that would have to be included in the marital settlement agreement.

If you are receiving alimony and haven’t arranged for it to be nontaxable and nondeductible, then you should plan for it to be taxed and prepare you finances accordingly. One way to do this is if you have a paying job, you can increase withholding from your paycheck, to offset any impact of support payments. Because the math can be a bit complex, you can check the potential tax liability at the IRS website. Some find it helpful to speak with a tax professional, as they can help you figure out the ideal amount for both you and your former spouse that is making support payments.

If you are the one making alimony payments, you can list the payments as deductible on your income tax return. The IRS will be paying close attention to support payments for the first 3 years, as some newly divorced people try to mask property allocation or other obligations that resulted from the divorce agreement. Also, keep in mind child support payments are not tax deductible, and if your spousal support is set to end when the children go to college, the IRS could consider the payments as child support instead of spousal, so for your protection, in the agreement, try not to have the alimony termination connected to the children in any way.

Can Men Receive Spousal Support?

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Because of how rigid gender roles have been in society, and how that has influenced the flow of income between men and women, women traditionally are awarded alimony in most divorces. This seemed to be typical in almost every divorce, so much that it created this popular cultural joke in our country about “women marrying rich men just to divorce them, and get half of their stuff!” However, times have changed and so as the idea of the modern day “bread winner”. Now more than ever, women are the ones in the household who are bringing in the same or more income as their male partners.

But has spousal support changed with the times?

The answer to this question is no, it hasn’t, but that is because spousal support was never “only for women”. The point behind alimony is that neither spouse should be left with significantly less than the other when the dust has settled. The ideal scenario is that you feel just about even with your ex-spouse when the divorce is settled (at least with what you left with). Therefore, just like in our rigid role scenario, if the wife is making more money during the marriage, the husband can potentially receive alimony. Considering that both spouses could walk away from the marriage with similar expenses, yet very different amounts of income, it is understandable why the court is willing to award alimony to either husband or wife.

Another influencing factor that could get former husband spousal support is if he was a stay-at-home dad, and took care of the kids. Stay-at-home mothers are often awarded alimony, and on the same premise; because you did not have a chance to make the same, or any, amount of money, as being a stay-at-home parent is a full time job. The court does not believe a parent should be punished for not having a career in lieu of taking care of the family, and they do consider the value of that when determining who is entitled to what.

Does Domestic Violence Affect Spousal Support?

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

It would seem logical that if during the marriage, a spouse was the victim of domestic violence, then during the divorce trial, and more specifically, when hashing out support payments, that would be a mitigating factor. And to some extent, the court usually takes into consideration the devastating effect that domestic violence can have on a person, not just emotionally and psychologically, but also in their every-day lives. For instance, the court recognizes that domestic violence can greatly affect a spouse’s ability to get a job and have a career because of the toll that domestic violence can have. The actions that a spouse commits on another can often negatively affect the other’s earning capability. Because the repercussions of spousal abuse and misconduct can have such an impact, don’t hesitate to bring it up to your attorney or in court, not only because of how it may impact spousal support, but also because it is something that should be addressed and not be brushed under the table.

While that is as far as most courts will consider domestic violence as a factor in spousal maintenance, it does have an impact on child support as well. In Family Court, a common form of relief is an Order of Protection. Not only does it help settle child custody battles, it also can include child support. While some courts initially grant a temporary order of protection, a more permanent one can be granted from one to three years.  Sometimes this order can include that the abuser pays the medical expenses for treatment that arise from the incident, as well as housing costs, and, as mentioned earlier, temporary child custody and an award of child support.

Paul E. Rudder, Esq. is a single practitioner and has been practicing family law for over three decades. Attorney Rudder started his career as a civil rights and criminal defense attorney. If you need legal assistance or want to get divorced, call 212-826-9900.

How Are Spousal Support Payments Affected By Bankruptcy?

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Obviously, it is would be difficult to make alimony payments if you are bankrupt – in fact, it makes it near impossible. As many divorcing couples know, alimony is what is known as a nondischargeable form of debt. This means that regardless of one’s financial situation, these debts are not alleviated from the debtor.

Along with alimony, child support is also a nondischargeable form of debt. So in almost all cases, spousal support payment requirements cannot and will not be negated through bankruptcy.

With that being said, there are two, and only two, situations in which alimony requirements can be eliminated. The first one is known as “Third Party Involvement”, and is very self-explanatory. Let’s say the alimony collector, through a written document, assigns their parent or close relative to be the one to initially collect it, and then subsequently has that relative pay them the alimony (ex-mother in law receives payment, then gives ex-spouse the alimony). In this case, a case can be made to eliminate the alimony payment requirements. The only other time alimony is nullified is in “Incorrect Alimony Classification”. In basic terms, if the ex-spouse that is making payments is mandated to send those payments to an affiliate of the other, a company or the like, then by definition, it is not alimony, as it is not pertaining to domestic maintenance, which is the point of alimony. Therefore, because it is not formally alimony, it can be discharged.

If you have questions regarding spousal support or alimony payments in New York, contact Paul E Rudder, Esq, an experienced and top-rated divorce attorney in New York City. Call Paul Rudder at 212-826-9900.

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How To Get Out Of Spousal Support?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

In most situations, some divorces result in one spouse making steady spousal support payments to their ex-partner. After a while, many paying spouses want to get out of paying more alimony. Fortunately for them, it can be possible to make changes to the alimony arrangements, but that is dependent on the terms of the divorce and recent or relevant circumstances.

Not all types of alimony are meant to be permanent. For example, if the spousal support is given so that the receiving spouse has time to receive proper training/finish their education to get a new job, the alimony should end when they are able to begin supporting themselves. If the paying spouse wants to work out a way to avoid paying alimony of any type, it must be dealt with in the court.

As well-known and popular the idea of alimony is, statistics show that only 15 percent of all divorces cases end with some sort of spousal support court order. If the spousal support is to be paid in one lump sum, this payment is not up for debate concerning reduction or elimination. However, there are ways to reduce or end alimony altogether.

Here are some of the common successful arguments used:

– You, the paying spouse, is suddenly and without choice, becomes unemployed

– An illness or the like impedes the paying spouse to work, and therefore make money

– The receiving spouse is living with someone in an intimate relationship, so they are being supported elsewhere.

There are other arguments that have been used, like declaring bankruptcy, using current inflation or your rising cost of living as an excuse for not being able to pay or intentionally trying to lower your income, but these often do not sway a judge in your favor.

Does My Spousal Support Duty End When I Retire?

Monday, April 17th, 2017

When you retire, there is the possibility that your financial circumstances will change. In some cases, social security starts coming in – replacing your current method of income. You would need to adjust your lifestyle.

Many still pay for spousal support even when they reach the point of retirement. Some wonder if they are still required to pay spousal maintenance. Unfortunately, alimony is not immediately terminated once you retire. There are many reasons that spousal support can be terminated, but unless the retirement drastically changes the retiree’s financial situation, it is unlikely that the family court will stop or reduce the current support payments required.

The way to go about attaining a modification to your current alimony plan is by presenting your new (and impactful) reduction in your income, via your new social security payments and whatever retirement funds you have saved.

In some professions, this will include a pension as well. By showing that there was a significant reduction in your salary, the judge would be more inclined to grant a reduction.

Additionally, the judge will also take into consideration your former spouse, who is receiving the alimony. Their income and expenses are equally as important as the fact that you are now retired and may have a lower income, as they might also be on the brink of retiring as well, facing similar circumstances as yourself. Without them being able to support themselves, the chances of a complete end to alimony payments are slim.


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2 Types of Alimony In New York



2 Types Of Alimony Or Spousal Maintenance In New York

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Although many of us understand the basic idea of alimony, one spouse paying the other after a divorce, many of us don’t truly grasp the process that goes into calculating the alimony. If there should be any alimony that should be awarded, it is important to obtain a real understanding of the process of obtaining alimony. In the state of New York, we refer to alimony as maintenance.

The real purpose of awarding alimony is to ensure that spouses who are not the primary ‘”breadwinners”, the spouse who is not supporting the family financially, can continue to live the way they did prior to the divorce, or at least a similar enough lifestyle. This also allows the spouse to start preparing to provide for him or herself, which often requires going back to school to obtain a degree, or go through some training, all in an attempt to be “self-sufficient” from then on.

Maintenance isn’t always after the divorce. Pendente Lite is a temporary alimony that is paid during the divorce case and helps to cover any financial needs that the supported spouse may have. This is often awarded after an examination of the pre-divorce standard of living. When the divorce is finalized, pendente lite is over.

Furthermore, post-divorce maintenance can be awarded after the divorce action and can be finite. The death of either spouse or the remarriage of the spouse receiving support, or even if the supported spouse is living with someone, can terminate this maintenance.

Alimony would be based on both spouses’ incomes. Pre-divorce lifestyle will also be taken into consideration.

How Long Do You Have To Pay Spousal Support?

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Spousal support is common in many divorce cases and usually involves one spouse paying the other on a routine basis. For instance, there are many situations where one spouse is not working, and because he or she has been out of work for a period of time, the working spouse has to provide support.

Every state has different rules regarding the duration of spousal support, but in truth, there is no clear-cut way to go about determining how long spousal support lasts.

Spousal support, also called as alimony, is ordered by the court and is meant to be rehabilitative, in the sense that is will be in place as long as necessary for the receiving party until he or she becomes self-sufficient and self-supportive. It is not uncommon for the court to also set an exact time for when the spousal support expires or when payments are no longer necessary. If this does not happen, then payment must be continuously made until the court makes an order otherwise, or the paying spouse makes a motion to stop the payments.

Another possible element that could change the duration of spousal support is the personal life of either spouse. If the receiving spouse re-marry or has a live-in partner, the payments will most likely end. This could be true even if the amount paid up to that point is not enough to qualify as “rehabilitated.”

It is only on rare occasions that spousal support would be permanent, and that is only under a small umbrella of circumstances. The most common one is if the spouse that receives the support has health problems that would require them to have most, if not all of their costs covered.