The most common scenario is that spousal maintenance otherwise known as spousal support (formerly referred to as “alimony”) is paid from the higher income spouse to the lower-income spouse after a settlement agreement is reached or a decision after trial is rendered by the Court. It could also begin upon the signing of a separation agreement if the parties opt for separation as opposed to divorce at that time.

However, spousal support may also be obtained on a temporary basis during a pending case in order to provide financial stability to the lesser income spouse and this may be accomplished by either a temporary stipulation between the parties or if need be, by the lesser income spouse succeeding on a motion during the case. From that motion, a court order will result and award the needy spouse with spousal support during the duration of the case. There could be other components or “relief” awarded to the needy spouse by way of such a motion, but for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing only on spousal support. In recent years, the determination of spousal support, either post-divorce or during the pendency of a divorce has evolved to where a formula is applied to determine the amount of support to be paid, and in the case of post-divorce support, the duration that support will be paid. Ultimately however, the law leaves open the application of certain factors which could impact the mathematically calculated support amount based upon strict application of the spousal support formula. One of those factors is that the Court in the end, possesses the power to apply its discretion to the calculated amount, meaning, the Court, based upon factors it must articulate, may move the calculated support amount up or down and also adjust the duration of support to be paid.

Another recent change to the area of spousal support in New York is that when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017, it phased out, beginning on January 1, 2019, the long standing tax deduction for the person paying the spousal support and also the requirement that the recipient of spousal support declare that money on his or her Federal income tax returns. This change has acted to affect the negotiability of spousal support between parties. It has so far proven to be a disadvantage to both parties. The reader’s take away from this article should be that spousal support is a complicated issue in divorce or separation and only a skilled attorney should be relied upon for counsel and advice on this issue. The results of an agreement or Court decision on the issue of spousal support will have far reaching impact upon both parties.

To better understand how spousal support is calculated in Nassau and Suffolk County New York divorces and separations and how your particular facts and circumstances could impact this important issue, you are invited to contact Robert B. Pollack, Esq., principal attorney of The Pollack Law Firm, P.C.

By Robert B. Pollack, Esq., principal attorney at The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. : Our firm is solely focused on Nassau and Suffolk County divorce, separation and all phases of matrimonial law, family law and mediation—

The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., serving clients in Nassau and Suffolk County, is always available to assist and represent parties in divorce and all other matrimonial and family law matters. Please call today to schedule a free consultation: (516) 938-3330.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to provide only general information for entertainment purposes and should never be relied upon as legal advice. One should seek the assistance of experienced matrimonial counsel to assist in explaining the law, options and making important decisions in any divorce, matrimonial or any family law matter. By reading this article, no attorney / client relationship arises in any manner whatsoever.

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