When you go through the divorce process, one critical consideration will be whether one party is entitled to spousal support under New York law – familiarly known as alimony. The parties can reach an agreement on what one will pay to the other, either through a prenuptial agreement or after initiating divorce proceedings. However, a judge will make a decision through application of state laws on spousal support if you are unable to reach a compromise. Set against the backdrop of a bitter, contested divorce, the topic of alimony can create a hotbed of disputes, hostilities, and animosity.
Still, the emotions surrounding the spousal support do not change the simple facts about how the laws work and what they require. You can trust your New York divorce attorney to tackle the complicated legal issues, but a few quick facts about alimony may be helpful.
- There are three types of spousal maintenance under New York law. Depending on the circumstances of your case, one party may be awarded:
- Temporary alimony, which provides support to one spouse while the divorce case is pending;
- Rehabilitative spousal support, intended to support a party in becoming self-sufficient; and,
- Permanent alimony, which a court may order in cases involving long-term marriages or large discrepancies in net worth.
- A judge calculates alimony by formula. When one party may be entitled to spousal support, there are two key factors that act as a starting point for the calculation:
- The difference between each party’s income;
- The amount of child support to be contributed by the payor spouse; and,
- Each party’s income, up to $184,000.
Note that the court will not include income over $184,000 in the numbers for calculating spousal maintenance.
- Additional considerations apply above the statutory cap. When the potential payor’s income is above $184,000, the court can look at other factors in making an award for alimony. The type of alimony is interconnected with these considerations, so it is taken into account when reviewing:
- The age and health of the parties;
- Each spouse’s earning capacity;
- Whether one party gave up employment or educational opportunities to contribute to the household; and,
- Other considerations that depend on your specific situation.
- Your alimony could be cut for misconduct. If you are the recipient of spousal support and have custody of a minor child, there are consequences for disrupting the parenting plan arrangement. New York has a statute that allows a judge to withhold alimony for interfering with visitation, and there could be other penalties for refusing to comply with the court’s order.
- Spousal support may be subject to federal income tax laws. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 did away with a provision of the Income Tax Code regarding tax treatment of alimony payments. The application of the law is based upon the date of your final divorce decree or certain modification orders, but there are two scenarios.
- Alimony payments are deductible by the payor and taxed as income for the recipient; OR,
- Spousal support does not impact income or deductions for either party.
Our New York Divorce Lawyers Can Explain Alimony in More Detail
These quick facts about alimony can help you understand the fundamental concepts, but it is essential to retain a skilled attorney for assistance – whether you are requesting spousal support or could be paying it. Our team at The Mandel Law Firm is prepared to help with an agreement, but we will be at your side if the issue goes to court. For more information, please call (646) 770-3868 or go online to set up a consultation at our offices in Manhattan, NY.