Family law issues involving children, money, and property can be marred by harmful allegations and tense arguments. It is ideal to go through a divorce in the most amicable and non-confrontational manner as possible, but doing so is not always possible. We are able to help our clients prevail using our tough negotiation skills and we are not afraid to try your case in court aggressively.
As some of Dutchess County's leading family law attorneys, we have handled complex spousal support cases and related matters with precision and skill. We have represented high net worth families and resolved contested and uncontested divorce cases with fervor and tenacity, making certain that all of our clients have been protected fully every step of the way.
Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, of which there are two types, temporary and permanent, requires the higher-earning spouse to pay support to the lower-earning spouse. Temporary maintenance is to be used during the time when a divorce proceeding has not yet been finalized. You can also file for permanent spousal maintenance which can be awarded post-divorce judgment.
When determining the need for spousal support, the court may consider the following:
Spousal support will be a tremendous financial responsibility for both payee and payor, and it is crucial to realize the importance of adhering to a support agreement. Failing to pay a monthly support obligation can jeopardize the ability for your former spouse to provide for your children and could have both civil and criminal repercussions, including a lawsuit or even a bench warrant for arrest.
As of January 2016, the formula for the length of spousal support is the following:
For marriages up to 15 years, maintenance is expected to last for 15% - 30% length of the marriage.
For marriages 15 - 20 years, maintenance is expected to last for 30% - 40% of the length of the marriage.
For marriages 20 years or more, maintenance is expected to last 35% - 50% of the length of the marriage.
When life changes, your spousal support may need to change as well. An amount that once seemed fair may not be enough now, or it could be too much to continue. Don’t worry – you may have the ability to change your current situation. Here are the steps to petition a change in spousal support.
Contact a Divorce Attorney
When looking to petition a change in spousal support, it is important to have the proper legal representation. A divorce attorney can analyze your situation and help you develop the strongest case for your modification. Additionally, your attorney can save you time by helping you file the proper paperwork and negotiating your petition with your ex-partner prior to meeting in court.
Submit Modification Petition
Once you have discussed your proposed modification with your attorney, you will need to submit a modification petition with the appropriate court. Assuming your petition is submitted within the appropriate time restrictions, the court will notify you and your ex-partner of your court date.
In order to properly file a modification petition, your situation must involve at least one of the following:
Even if one of the above events occurs, a spousal change will not occur automatically; you must still file a modification petition.
Present Reason to Request a Change in Spousal Support
Once at the hearing, you and your attorney will present your case to the judge. Depending on the situation, you may argue that you are no longer financially able to make payments or claim that your ex-partner no longer needs the payments. Other common reasons to request modification include:
If the judge feels there is good reason, they will modify or terminate the current spousal support agreement.
When it comes to spousal support, consulting a legal professional will be a critical step in obtaining a fair spousal support order. If the court steps in and orders spousal support to be paid, the court order could pose a significant financial burden on a payor, especially if the payor was expecting a different outcome. Having represented many men and women throughout Dutchess County, Beacon, and other areas in New York, we know how to protect your rights and seek a fair resolution.