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Law Office of Richard Roman Shum, Esq., PLLC.

Manhattan Spousal Support Attorney

Spousal Support Lawyer - Manhattan Spousal Support Attorney - The Law Office of Richard Roman Shum - NYC Spousal Maintenance

A divorce can bring emotional, financial, and personal difficulties to a couple. Going from a shared household to their separate ways can bring significant hardship, not just in terms of the relationship, but in a couple’s financial standing as well. While there are couples who can remain financially independent even while married, this is not the case for the majority of people.

New York law allows a financially dependent spouse to petition for financial support from their spouse until they are able to gain financial stability. At the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum, top-rated New York City spousal support attorney Richard Roman Shum provides quality legal assistance to anyone seeking to understand spousal support and maintenance in New York. Whether you are seeking assistance in making a petition for alimony, expecting to become a payor in your case, or have other legal concerns about your divorce, our team of Manhattan divorce attorneys can help.

Contact us today at (646) 259-3416 to schedule a free consultation.

“In both cases attorney Shum was great to work with. Navigating both of these situations was, at times, confusing. Attorney Shum made the details of both matters easy for me to comprehend.”

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Understanding New York Spousal Support and Alimony

When a couple ends their marriage, one spouse can be left financially insecure, either by having postponed their career to look after their family or by foregoing career advancement because the other spouse had the financial means. The court will usually aim to continue the same standard of living the spouses had while married even after their divorce.

Alimony or spousal support is a way for a higher-earning individual to continue to support their ex-spouse even after they are divorced either temporarily or indefinitely depending on their particular circumstances. 

While spousal support is commonly imposed through a court order, spouses who can work together in negotiating the terms of their divorce can also set the conditions under which spouse would provide the support and by how much. In many cases, spousal support is ordered by a judge who would take the couple’s specific circumstances into consideration.

Alimony, spousal support, and spousal maintenance are often used interchangeably in other states but have different meanings under New York law.

Alimony is the blanket term used in other states to describe payments made by one spouse to another. While this is not considered an official legal term in NY, it is still used by attorneys as a common and familiar word to refer to the legal term.

Spousal support is financial support given by a spouse to their spouse while the two are still married. Even if a couple has filed for divorce, the court can order the higher-paying spouse to financially provide for their spouse. Spouses can also agree to include spousal support in their separation agreement while they are preparing for divorce.

Spousal maintenance refers to spousal support payments after the divorce is made final.

If you are looking to file a spousal support petition and have any questions about the legal processes involved, our experienced Manhattan spousal support lawyers at the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum may be able to help.

If you need the help of an experienced Manhattan spousal support lawyer, Call us today to schedule a free consultation at (646) 259-3416.

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How Spousal Maintenance is awarded according to New York Law

When applying for a divorce, each spouse is required to submit their financial statements and records. This includes recent tax returns, income or pay stubs, and a full Financial Disclosure Affidavit. The court will also hear both sides and determine which spouse should pay the other and how much.

While the divorce proceedings are ongoing, a Pendente Lite motion can be filed by your NYC spousal support attorney to request the court to order immediate financial support.

In the past, alimony payments were paid to the wife based on gender roles and how wives were expected to put a hold on their careers to look after the family. Today, the consideration when choosing the payor spouse relies on which spouse is the primary breadwinner, regardless of gender.

Aside from who the breadwinner is, the court will also consider the following factors when determining who to award spousal support and maintenance:

New York laws recognize separate and marital property. When discussing spousal support, a judge can also consider any marital property each spouse will receive and whether or not it has the capacity to generate income. For example, if a spouse gets shares in a business or receives a piece of commercial property, the court can take any future income the assets will generate and adjust spousal support accordingly.

If the divorce happens when spouses are at an advanced age or when one spouse has a health condition that can prevent them from being financially independent, a court may be more likely to award a higher amount of spousal support.

Both economic and non-economic contributions are considered by the court. However, if one spouse’s contribution has severely impacted their own financial independence, a court may award them with spousal support. This is the case for spouses who chose to stop their career, so the other spouse can advance theirs, or when a spouse chooses to stay at home to take care of the household, children, or any relatives who require care.

If a spouse needs considerable training or education to get gainful employment, it may be difficult for them to become self-supporting immediately after a divorce. It is also important to note that while considerations for the spousal support award are given according to a person’s wage-earning capacity, engaging in fraudulent behavior can cause repercussions. 

If a spouse chooses to deliberately get a lower-paying job to manipulate their financial situation, the court will not adjust a spousal support order just to accommodate if it knows that the spouse has a higher wage-earning capacity.

If the couple shares a child or children and the receiving spouse is also the custodial parent, the court can take the child’s expenses into consideration. If the receiving spouse’s ability to earn an income will be affected by the child’s needs, the court may also award higher spousal support. However, when child support is already awarded, spousal support payments can become lower than what the receiving spouse may get if there was no child involved.

When spouses have been married for a long time, spousal support may either be provided with a higher award or for a longer period of time.

If the asset distribution between spouses causes higher tax liabilities for one spouse, a court may provide a spousal support award to even out the difference.

Wasteful spending of marital property can lead the court to either give a receiving spouse a lower spousal support amount or a payor spouse to pay higher. This is done especially in cases where one spouse would spend down the marital assets the other spouse would have gotten a share of in the divorce.

As a no-fault divorce state, New York does not require a fault to award spousal support. However, the court will consider if there is domestic violence or abuse involved. Although this is the case, it is crucial to remember that the purpose of spousal support is not punitive.

The court will also take into consideration any existing agreements the couple has. If a couple’s prenuptial/postnuptial agreement or separation agreement includes details about spousal support and maintenance, the court can apply the agreement when deciding the final spousal support order.

“Attorney Richard Shum assisted my family and I with a very difficult landlord. At a time of a lot of concern and uncertainty, Mr. Shum was there for us every inch of the way, his confidence and vast knowledge of the law, together with his passion for it and for helping people, provided us the serenity to go on about our life, while he took care of they daunting matter. At the end we reached an agreement only Atterney Shum could achieve. Since I recommended his service to any friends that is in need of help with legal matters, from Landlord/Tenant to family court, and in every case I receive a thank you call from said friends, following the successful outcome he provided. So, as I say to my friends, if you need an Attorney that will fight for you, and not stress you out, call this guy. you will thank me.”

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Types of New York Spousal Support

New York spousal support has different types depending on the duration and the purpose of the award.

  • Durational spousal support – Durational spousal support is provided to one spouse to pay for specific needs until the divorce is finalized
  • Non-durational spousal support – Also known as permanent alimony, non-durational spousal support is awarded if the couple has been married for a long time, if a spouse has a significant medical condition, advanced age, or disability, or there is a significant disparity in the couple’s financial situations.
  • Reimbursement support – This type of support can be awarded when one spouse helps the other increase their wage-earning capacity, such as when a spouse helps pay for the other’s university education. As the name suggests, this type of spousal support is meant to reimburse the 
  • Rehabilitative support – This type of support is provided to spouses who became stay-at-home parents to help the household. Spousal support payments are expected to continue until the receiving spouse can support themselves. 

The type of spousal support awarded to a spouse can be based on the guidelines set by New York laws as well as the judge’s determination.

At the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum, our NYC spousal support lawyers may be able to provide you with skilled representation in negotiating your spousal support and maintenance. We provide quality legal services pertaining to divorce and family law.

If you are looking for Manhattan spousal support attorneys, Contact the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum at (646) 259-3416 to schedule a complimentary consultation or fill out our online form.

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How are Spousal Support and Maintenance in New York Calculated and Paid?

As mentioned, a judge will honor the couple’s agreement on spousal support, if they have one. If not, or if the couple cannot agree on the terms, the court is obligated to use New York’s baseline computation for spousal support and maintenance unless the result is unjust and inappropriate given the circumstances of the case.

The formula is different for couples with and without minor children and only considers the spouse’s net income up to a certain amount. As of 2022, the upper-income limit is $203,000 which means that any income above that amount will not be considered for the calculation unless the court decides otherwise.

A general rule to see if there is going to be a maintenance order is if the lower-earning spouse’s income is less than ⅔ of the high-earning spouse or if a spouse is not earning at all.

For the duration of spousal maintenance, New York courts typically use the following standards:

  • 15% – 30% of the time married for couples married for less than or equal to 15 years
  • 30% – 40% of the time married for couples married for more than 15 years but less than 20 years
  • 35% – 50% of the time married for couples married for more than 20 years

A couple can opt to make a lump sum payment instead of making monthly payments. However, if a couple cannot agree on a payment scheme and the spousal maintenance order has been awarded, the court can issue an income withholding order to make sure that spousal maintenance is paid.

New York’s state tax laws are different from federal tax laws. According to NY Tax Law § 612,  alimony payments can be considered tax deductible for the payor spouse and can be considered income for the receiving spouse. The exact calculation can be confusing for those who are not well-versed in the tax consequences of spousal support and maintenance.

An experienced spousal support lawyer in Manhattan may be able to walk you through the financial implications of paying or receiving spousal support. New York City spousal support lawyer Richard Roman Shum has been providing skilled legal counsel to individuals going through a divorce to help them protect their best interests in matters concerning alimony.

Contact the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum today to schedule a complimentary consultation at (646) 259-3416

Type of New York Spousal SupportDefinition
Durational spousal supportSupport provided to one spouse for specific needs until the divorce is finalized
Non-durational spousal supportAwarded if the couple has been married for a long time, if a spouse has a significant medical condition, advanced age, or disability, or there is a significant disparity in the couple’s financial situations
Reimbursement supportAwarded when one spouse helps the other increase their wage-earning capacity, such as paying for the other’s university education. Meant to reimburse.
Rehabilitative supportProvided to spouses who became stay-at-home parents to help the household. Payments expected to continue until the receiving spouse can support themselves.

Spousal maintenance orders should be followed strictly. Any attempts to avoid paying or to pay a lower amount might result in legal action. 

If a payor spouse misses payments, the receiving spouse can submit a formal complaint to the Family Court. The court can then issue an order to collect the missed payments.

A spousal maintenance order may be changed if there is a significant change in either spouse’s financial situation such as:

  • Experiencing financial hardship due to retirement, sudden job loss, or demotion that lowers a payor spouse’s wage-earning capacity compared to when the couple was still married.
  • The receiving spouse has become financially independent
  • The payor spouse contracts a disease or sustains a disability that keeps them from working

An order can also be terminated if the receiving spouse remarries or either spouse passes away.

“I was very impressed with how astute, detail oriented and methodical Richard is with his work. He is experienced, technically proficient, highly effective and an excellent negotiator, who is proactive and knows the law inside and out. Richard kept me informed regularly and was responsive to all my requests and queries. All the traits that any good lawyer worth his salt should possess.”

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Modifying Spousal Support and Maintenance

In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to modify the terms of a spousal support or maintenance order. This can happen when there is a significant change in either spouse’s financial situation or other relevant factors. The process for modifying spousal support in New York involves petitioning the court for a modification and presenting evidence of the changed circumstances.

Factors that can lead to modification include:

  • Financial hardship: If the payor spouse experiences a significant change in their financial situation, such as job loss, demotion, or retirement, they may request a modification of the spousal support order.
  • Financial independence: If the receiving spouse becomes financially independent or their financial situation improves significantly, the payor spouse may request a modification to reduce or eliminate the spousal support payments.
  • Health and disability: If the payor spouse develops a serious health condition or becomes disabled, they may request a modification of the spousal support order to account for their reduced earning capacity.
  • Remarriage or cohabitation: If the receiving spouse remarries or begins cohabitating with a new partner, the payor spouse may request a modification or termination of the spousal support order.
  • Changes in the needs of the spouses or children: If the needs of either spouse or any children involved change significantly, the court may modify the spousal support order to ensure the best interests of all parties are met.

In order to request a modification, a spouse must file a petition with the court that issued the original spousal support order. The petition should include evidence of the changed circumstances and an explanation of why the modification is necessary. The court will then review the petition and may schedule a hearing to determine whether a modification is warranted.

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How Can a New York Spousal Support Attorney Help?

A skilled Manhattan lawyer specializing in divorce and family law can assist in spousal support cases by providing assistance in all stages of the divorce. Even in the case of an uncontested divorce, an attorney may be able to give useful feedback and walk the couple through the financial decisions that need to be made.

Aside from spousal support, a couple would also need to discuss the matter of child support, distribution of marital assets and debt, and child custody. Discussing these matters can become overwhelming quickly even with both spouses working together.

In a contested divorce, a Manhattan attorney can file a Pendente Lite petition for temporary support or a spousal support petition to assist a lower-paying spouse. An attorney can also help file a complaint in the event that a payor spouse misses payments or avoids paying them entirely.

 On the flip side, an attorney can also help the payor spouse avoid paying a higher amount of spousal support than is necessary.

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Working With Top-Rated Manhattan Spousal Support Lawyer Richard Roman Shum

Whether you are the receiving or the paying spouse, having an experienced New York City spousal support attorney can be beneficial in ensuring that your rights are protected and that your best interests are represented in matters of spousal support and maintenance. 

Richard Roman Shum, a skilled spousal support attorney based in Manhattan, may be able to assist you in negotiating, petitioning, and enforcing a spousal support order. At the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum, our attorneys have dedicated their practice to providing legal support and assistance to individuals navigating the complicated terrain of divorce in New York. We are here to help.

Call us today at (646) 259-3416 to schedule a free consultation with Manhattan spousal support attorneys to help you with your spousal support needs.

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