Spousal Support

The issue of spousal support is often a challenging and divisive aspect of the divorce or separation process. In addition to the obvious financial issues that arise, there are many emotions associated with paying or receiving spousal support. At Vacca Family Law Group, we aim to help our clients structure realistic spousal support plans that will allow them to move forward with a sense of financial and emotional security, regardless of whether they are the party paying or receiving support.

How Spousal Support Works

Spousal support, which is also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is paid from one spouse to his or her former spouse for some duration following the divorce. In New York, spousal support is generally paid for the purpose of helping the lower-earning, or non-earning, spouse maintain the marital lifestyle for some period of time while working toward becoming self-supporting, if possible. In addition to the marital lifestyle, other factors to be considered when determining the amount and duration of spousal support include the age and health of the parties, the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each party and whether there are children in the home. There are spousal support guidelines under New York law that can be looked at to guide the conversation regarding the amount and duration of support. However, when a couple is negotiating an agreement on their own, including through the mediation or collaborative divorce process, spousal support is often based on their current and future financial circumstances. For this reason, actual needs and ability to pay are primary considerations.

It is important to differentiate between spousal support and child support. While spousal support is meant to help a spouse become self-supporting, child support is for the benefit of and care for the child. Under New York law, parents are obligated to support their children until the age of 21.

Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements will also often clarify whether a spouse will or won't be entitled to spousal support in the event of a divorce in one of these 3 ways:

  1. Both parties waive spousal support under all circumstances; or
  2. Spousal support is waived unless there are certain circumstances that arrive, such as one of the spouses has stopped working to care for children; or
  3. The couple agrees in advance that specific spousal support amounts will be paid based on the length of the marriage, the amount of assets being divided or some other terms.

To discuss spousal support and reach a positive solution, contact us today.

Learn More About Spousal Support