Spousal support is paid by the spouse who earns the most amount of income to the spouse who earns the least income either during divorce proceedings or after the divorce has been finalized. It is also referred to as alimony.
Different Types of Spousal Maintenance
The terms spousal maintenance and spousal support should not be confused with one another. Spousal maintenance is paid during or after divorce, but spousal support is given while a couple is still married.
Temporary maintenance is paid by one spouse to another as divorce proceedings are underway and before they are finalized. This is usually awarded in cases where one spouse has no other source of income and needs immediate cash for their maintenance.
Post-divorce spousal maintenance is awarded after divorce proceedings have been finalized.
Factors Affecting Spousal Maintenance
• The duration of the marriage will determine the amount of spousal support. The longer the marriage lasted, the more alimony is awarded.
• The age of the parties involved. If the party being awarded spousal support is older and has health issues, then they will get a larger alimony amount.
• Earning capacity is critical because it outlines the current and future earning ability of the spouse. If a spouse earns a significant amount of money and has the potential to earn a lot of money in the future, then they will not be awarded as much as if their financial status is low. If a spouse has the capacity to earn in the future, their spousal maintenance might only be awarded for a given period of time sufficient for them to be financially independent.
• Current income and property. One main issue in determination of alimony is property owned by each spouse individually. The method used to split the property determines the spousal maintenance amount.
• Any loss that has been incurred by a spouse as a result of the marriage will be factored into alimony calculation. If a marriage agreement required a spouse to stay at home to take care of the children in lieu of pursuing a career, then this will increase the alimony amount.
• Child custody arrangements. If the spouse with lower earning ability will get physical custody of their children not only will the other spouse have to pay for child support, they will have to give more alimony.
• If there is an equitable distribution of property owned by the two spouses, then spousal maintenance will be reduced.
• Health insurance. If married couples have joint medical insurance, this will be discontinued upon divorce. This additional expense for health insurance will be added to spousal maintenance.
• Death of one or all spouses. If the spouse receiving alimony dies, then the other spouse doesn’t have to pay the alimony anymore. If the spouse paying alimony dies, then the spouse who receives alimony will no longer get their payments.
What the Law Says About Spousal Maintenance
The law provides a formula for calculation of alimony. This can be found online if you are interested in doing the calculation or understanding how it works.
According to The Laws of New York, you have to report your full alimony amount to the law for tax returnspurposes.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer will help ensure that alimony payments are fair to both parties. If you feel your spouse is demanding too much spousal maintenance during divorce proceedings, then you need to get in touch with a lawyer who can help lower the amount.
If you already have an alimony settlement and would like to know how it affects your tax returns, then a lawyer is in a better place to explain this information to you.
Additionally, a lawyer can help with alimony calculations.