You may be at a crossroads in your marriage, contemplating the difficult decision of ending it. It’s important to acknowledge that staying in an unfulfilling marriage may not be the best option for anyone involved. However, the prospect of going through a divorce can be daunting and may deter some from taking action.
If you’re considering divorce, the possibility of being obligated to pay alimony may be a concern, especially if you’re the higher-earning spouse. In such cases, seeking legal counsel from experienced divorce lawyers, such as those at Cammarata & De Meyer P.C., can provide valuable guidance and advice.
How does Alimony Work in New York?
In New York, if a court orders you to pay alimony, it may be for a limited duration or indefinitely, depending on the circumstances. Alimony is referred to as spousal support, which aims to provide financial assistance to a spouse after a divorce. The duration and amount of spousal support depend on several factors, such as the length of the marriage, the income and earning potential of both spouses, and the standard of living during the marriage.
Spousal support is typically granted when the requesting spouse is unable to maintain a reasonable standard of living on their own after the divorce. This includes covering essential expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. The amount and duration of spousal support may be modified or terminated based on a change in circumstances, such as a significant change in income or the remarriage of the receiving spouse.
Ways to Avoid Paying Alimony
Prove Your Spouse Committed Adultery
If you’re able to provide convincing evidence that your spouse is in a romantic relationship with another person, it may impact your alimony obligations. This evidence can include records such as emails, text messages, or phone records.
Adultery can influence a judge’s decision to grant alimony to your spouse. If the relationship with the third party is the cause of the marriage breakdown, the judge may deny any alimony requests. It’s important to consult with a reputable lawyer to understand your legal rights and options and to ensure that your evidence is both accurate and admissible in court.
Prove Your Spouse is Living with their Significant Other
If you know that your spouse is moving in with his new partner, you should provide evidence to support your claim. To find out if your spouse is hosting a guest, you can engage a private investigator to take pictures and videos of them throughout the day.
Use social media as a last resort. You might not need any additional evidence if your husband is uploading photographs of their new home or apartment with their significant other on social media.
Evaluate Your Spouse’s Employable Skills
You may be able to avoid paying alimony if you can persuade the court that your spouse possesses employable skills. In such a case, the court will scrutinize your spouse’s academic qualifications, abilities, and work history. Additionally, a judge can determine how much money your spouse could potentially earn in their field by consulting resources like the U.S. Department of Labor. If it is determined that your husband qualifies for a higher paying job, the court may terminate your alimony obligation.
Demonstrate that Your Spouse is Making More Income
As part of a divorce settlement, a court may initially order spousal maintenance if your spouse is not earning enough to support themselves. But if circumstances change, you can petition the court to reduce or terminate your alimony payments by demonstrating a “material and substantial change in circumstances.” If you have evidence that your spouse is now earning a higher income, you can file a motion to modify alimony and request a modification of the original order.
Get a divorce soon after getting married to potentially avoid the obligation of paying alimony
A court may be less inclined to require spousal maintenance if the marriage lasted for less than ten (10) years.
Unless certain exceptional situations arise, such as a former spouse being mentally or physically incapacitated or caring for a child with special needs, a court may be reluctant to order spousal maintenance unless it is deemed necessary.
Comparison between Court-Ordered Spousal Maintenance and Contractual Alimony
It is important to note that the guidelines for spousal maintenance apply to court-ordered arrangements and not contractual alimony, which is a predetermined amount agreed upon by the divorcing couple that cannot be altered. However, while spousal maintenance is enforceable through a court order, enforcing contractual alimony may be more challenging.
A Divorce Attorney Protecting Your Interests in New York City and Surrounding Areas.
If you are contemplating divorce, know that our divorce attorneys are here to guide you each step of the way. Cammarata & De Meyer P.C. will make sure that you are not paying alimony if it is not warranted. Contact us today to schedule your consultation. Serving New York, NY, and nearby cities.