Can I Reduce My Payment of Spousal Maintenance Due to Unemployment? Video

Straight talk with David Badanes, Esq., an experienced divorce attorney on Long Island, New York.

Can I reduce my payment of spousal maintenance due to unemployment?

In New York State, if you are paying spousal maintenance and you lose your job or your income becomes less, you may ask yourself, “Can I pay less in spousal maintenance?” You have to seek the advice of an experienced Long Island divorce attorney.

It can be very difficult to pay less in spousal maintenance, however, it can be possible. You have to show your income becomes reduced or you lost your job, not because of your fault but because they are hiring fewer people or reducing their employment.

You also have to show that you are trying to get a new job and also trying to replace the income that you lost. That’s something that your attorney will show you how to prove.

New Spousal Maintenance Laws in New York

As of January 25, 2016, New York State has enacted a new spousal maintenance (alimony) law. The new law has significant changes for temporary spousal maintenance and post-divorce spousal maintenance.

Temporary spousal maintenance is the amount of maintenance that is paid or received while the divorce is pending, post-divorce spousal maintenance is the amount of maintenance that is paid or received after the divorce is granted.

Prior to the new law, only temporary spousal maintenance had a formula to calculate the amount of maintenance to be paid. Now, the formula is the same for both temporary and post-divorce spousal maintenance. It is important to note, that both the former law and the new law state that the result of the formula is a “guideline” and that the Court can deviate from the formula if it finds the guideline amount to be “unjust or inappropriate” after considering several factors.

The formula is a bit complicated and is described in detail in another article. Here are a few important things to know:

  1. There are two different formulas, one in the situation where the payor spouse is also paying child support and the other formula is where the payor spouse is either receive child support or not paying any amount of child support. Generally, in situations where the payor spouse is also paying child support, the formula will result in a lower amount then in situations where the payor spouse is either receiving child support or not paying any child support. Therefore, the Court recognizes that in general terms, a spouse who is also paying child support has less available money to pay spousal maintenance.
  1. The formula has an income cap of $175,000. This means that if your income is greater than $175,000, only $175,000 is plugged into the formula. Note that every two years, this income cap can change based on the consumer price index. If one of the spouses’ incomes is greater than $175,000, the Court will first use the formula (with the cap) and then can award additional maintenance based on several factors.
  1. Temporary maintenance is just that, it must end upon the issuance of the Judgment of Divorce or the death of either party, whichever occurs first. Furthermore, the Court may order no amount of temporary maintenance or for the amount of temporary maintenance to be paid for a shorter period of time than the duration of the divorce litigation. This recognizes that some divorces can take a long time and that it would not be correct to award temporary maintenance for the entire length of the litigation.
  1. The parties can opt-out of either the temporary maintenance or the post-divorce maintenance formula. This would be done in a written agreement. Therefore, you and your spouse can agree to an amount of maintenance that is different than what the formula would suggest.
  1. The length of time for post-divorce maintenance is now determined by a formula. That formula is as follows:

a. If the length of the marriage was between 0 years and 15 years, the duration of maintenance is 15% to 30% of the length of the marriage.

b. If the length of the marriage was between 15 years and 20 years, the duration of maintenance is 30% to 40% of the length of the marriage.

c. If the length of the marriage was greater than 20 years, the duration of maintenance is 35% to 50% of the length of the marriage.

The Court can deviate from the duration formula based on several factors.

If you are getting divorced and you have questions about how the new spousal maintenance law affects you, the Badanes Law Office can help you. Call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Garden City, Nassau County.

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