Long Island Divorce & Family Law Firm Established in 1976
Spousal Support

NY Spousal Support Agreements

What You Should Know About New York Laws

Spousal support is long- or short-term payment from an independent spouse to a dependent spouse as a result of a divorce or a legal separation. Family court has the power to award spousal support between spouses who live apart, but have not filed actions for divorce or separation. Spousal support awarded in actions for divorce or separation is also known as "maintenance" in the state of New York. This form of monetary payment covers the dependent spouse's daily needs, which may include: shelter, food, clothing, and medical expenses.

Why Is One Spouse Obligated to Pay?

When two people get married, they establish a way of living. If the people divorce after this standard of living is established, the law seeks to help the dependent spouse maintain that way of living through spousal support. Spousal support should provide sufficient income for the dependent spouse to live within such the established marital means until the dependent spouse is able to support him or herself.

In New York, there are two types of spousal support that may be awarded by the court. In all spousal support cases, the judge must use discretion when making an award decision. In determining maintenance the judge will consider the non-dependent spouse's ability to pay, as well as other factors considered in awarding equitable distributions.

The two types of spousal support are:

  • Permanent support is payment for daily needs such as food, shelter, clothing, insurance, and medical expenses. Before a spouse can be awarded permanent support, he / she must prove that they are in need of it. Once permanent support is awarded, the independent spouse must make payments indefinitely, or until a change of circumstances occurs.
  • Rehabilitative support is temporary payment that allows the dependent spouse to develop his / her vocational skills. Rehabilitative support is meant to help the dependent spouse return to a state of financial self-sufficiency.

Any award for spousal maintenance terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the dependent spouse.

How is Post-Divorce Spousal Support Determined in New York?

The amount of spousal support that one spouse may owe to another is determined as a percentage of their income. Courts do not use a fixed formula to determine how much support is appropriate, but do take some of the following criteria into account:

  • Present and future income of both spouses
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The ability of the dependent spouse to eventually become self-supporting
  • The dependent spouse’s earning capacity
  • Loss of income, medical insurance, and other benefits after the divorce
  • Age and health of both spouses
  • Whether there are children, disabled children, in-laws, or elderly that also require care
  • Any non-monetary contributions to the marriage made by the receiving spouse

This list does not include everything that a judge may consider. The court will look at any details that they feel are relevant to a decision about how much spousal maintenance to award. Maintenance awards can be either “durational,” meaning that they must be paid for a determined period of time, or “non-durational,” in which they must be paid for the lifetime of the dependent. While rare, this may apply to cases where the dependent may not be able to support themselves in the future; for example, if they are older, have an illness, or are otherwise unlikely to find employment.

Long Island Attorneys for Spousal Support

Since our founding in 1976, Wisselman, Harounian & Associates has been exclusively dedicated to representing divorce and family law matters. If you are going through a divorce or separation, it is important that you speak with a skilled matrimonial law attorney as soon as possible. At Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, we can explain the laws pertaining to spousal support, inform you of your legal options, challenge spousal support terms in court, and protect your individual rights.

Schedule your complimentary case consultation when you call our Great Neck law firm today.

Recommended Reading

Committed to Every Client

  • I highly recommend Joseph Bracconier's services to anyone looking for someone to relate to their personal experience and provide knowledgeable, empathic, professional guidance and support.”

    “Joseph Bracconier brought a certain calmness during a very chaotic, nerve wracking time in my life. He's has a remarkable way of quickly taking in all the information presented and recapping it in an ...”

    - Client Testimonials
  • She was with me every step of the way and I can’t thank her enough.

    “Amanda Green represented me in my divorce and made me feel at ease during the entire process. She is very patient and accommodating. Made it very easy to speak with her. This was a very difficult and ...”

    - Former Client
  • You always were saying that I had a good case. Always positive.

    “Jerry - You always were saying that I had a good case. Always positive. You looked at all the angles. You kept me hopeful and gave me great advice…Thank you for that and all the other great ...”

    - Client Testimonials
  • I would use them again and recommend him and the firm to others.

    “Joseph and the entire firm were very prepared to defend me in a restraining order case. It was a very difficult time for me being accused of something like that while I was being harassed by my ex. ...”

    - Client Testimonials
  • I can wholeheartedly recommend Christine!

    “Christine was my divorce lawyer and truly did an excellent job on my behalf. My soon to be ex-wife was out for blood and wanted alimony, half of everything, lawyers fees paid for.. Christine looked at ...”

    - Client Testimonials

Reasons to Choose Wisselman, Harounian & Associates P.C.

  • We will go the extra mile to meet your needs.

    Our professionals will go above and beyond to create a solution that is tailored to fit the unique needs and goals of you and your family.

  • We will walk you through every decision.

    When you hire us, we will get to know you on a personal level, inform you of your options, and help you make the best decisions possible.

  • We will sort out all concerns on your mind.

    Our mission is to put your mind at ease, alleviate your worries, address all concerns, and answer any questions you have along the way.

  • We will always act in your best interests.

    We demonstrate an unparalleled level of commitment to our clients. When you work with us, your needs will always come first.

We Can Help You Move Forward

Request Your Free Case Evaluation Today
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.