New York State Spousal Support: It’s Not All About the Numbers

The lower earning spouse in a divorce can’t afford to wait out a long legal process to get spousal maintenance. For this reason New York State spousal support law includes a quick and easy calculation to determine temporary support until the final amount can be determined. This amount is not carved in stone and a court can modify the award to more accurately reflect the couple’s financial situation.

The Problem with Going to Court

The New York temporary maintenance formulas are based only on each couple’s income. While this makes a decent first approximation, our finances are defined by more than our paychecks. The Statement of Net Worth in New York divorces contains far more information and may show that the amount that comes from the maintenance calculation is unfair. The law specifically allows the amount to be changed for reasons ranging from a spouse’s health to the couple’s living arrangements to the need to care for elderly parents.

Either spouse can object and take the matter before a judge but going to court is a last resort in divorce cases. Nobody can predict how a judge will rule. For example an attorney seeking a higher maintenance amount might find the judge rules the amount should actually be lowered based on a broader view of the couple’s finances. Family law attorneys prefer to settle these matters out of court if possible.

The Art of Negotiation

Often both sides feel the temporary calculation is wrong. The payor thinks it’s too high and the recipient thinks it’s too low. Each side can bicker about it but that’s not productive. Attorneys know they need more than hand-waving arguments to convince the other side so they turn to New York matrimonial law net worth software to provide evidence backing up their claims.

Family law attorneys can prepare multiple support scenarios in the New York divorce software taking into account factors such each spouse’s lifestyles, earning capacity, age and health. They can adjust the amounts for unusual factors. For example if one spouse needs to go back to school to become employable after a long period of being absent from the work force, it might be appropriate to raise the maintenance amount. They can examine the tax implications of different scenarios sometimes finding solutions that are better for both sides.

Negotiation tends to favor the side with better documentation. Use legal practice management software to back up your arguments with hard facts and increase the chance of a favorable temporary maintenance settlement for your client.