Alimony, or “maintenance,” is the ongoing payment that one spouse makes to another during or after divorce. It is designed to help the lower-earning spouse through the divorce period or through the remainder of their life. The Albany alimony lawyers at Colwell Law Group ensure that our clients’ best interests are preserved, whether that means receiving an adequate amount or coming to a reasonable agreement in terms of the payment they must provide.
Concerns over how one will pay the bills post separation/divorce are often the foremost on our client’s minds. Unfortunately, these concerns are usually some of the most complex and contested aspects of a divorce case. They are typically addressed through an order of spousal maintenance, commonly referred to as alimony. Spousal maintenance is an order providing for payments from one ex-spouse to the other either during or after a divorce.
At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, we have the experience and skill necessary get you a fair spousal maintenance award in terms of both amount and duration. Since 2005, our firm has been securing the best possible outcomes for our divorce clients. With decades of combined matrimonial and family law litigation experience, we know how to favorably resolve even the most complex spousal maintenance/alimony issues. Our focus on divorce and child custody matters allows us to keep abreast of the most recent case law trends and statutory changes. Contact our divorce law firm today for the legal guidance you need.
How Do I Calculate Alimony Payments?
New York courts use two different formulas to calculate alimony awards or payments. The spouse alimony calculator is as follows:
20% of the paying spouse’s annual net income
Minus 25% of the recipient’s annual net income
Split into 12 monthly payments
40% of the spouses’ combined income
Minus the recipient’s annual net income
Split into 12 monthly payments
While these formulas may sound relatively simple, there are added layers of complexity — and most divorcing spouses in Albany need to consult with a spousal support lawyer to get it right.
First, it’s not uncommon for couples to disagree about their choice of formula. If you’re going to have to pay alimony, you probably want the lowest amount possible — especially since it’s no longer tax-deductible on your federal income taxes. If you’re planning on getting spousal support, you’ll probably want the highest amount possible, especially if you’ve sacrificed work opportunities or education to support your spouse or need to care for your children. (Notably, under the new federal tax laws, alimony recipients must report these payments as income.)
This innate tension can lead to heated disagreements and disputes.
Spousal Maintenance Caps in Albany
State law puts a cap on the amount of income that the judge can consider when applying the alimony formulas. In other words, the court will not consider a spouse’s income that exceeds this amount when applying the formulas. In 2018, that cap is $184,000.
If this doesn’t seem fair, don’t worry. When a spouse’s income is greater than the alimony income cap, the judge can modify the spousal support award based on a series of factors. These factors include:
Each spouse’s age and health
Your present or future wage earning capacity
Whether a spouse needs additional training or education to re-enter the workforce or improve their wage earning capacity
Whether a spouse tried to hide or improperly diminish the value of their marital property
How child care and other responsibilities impact a spouse’s wage earning capacity
If one spouse delayed their education or opportunities to support the marriage and family
Whether each spouse has health insurance and how much it will cost
The couple’s standard of living while married
The judge can also apply additional factors, depending on the circumstances surrounding your divorce and marriage. When combined, all of these nuances make it difficult for the average person to properly calculate their spousal maintenance payments. While the State of New York publishes an alimony calculator, it doesn’t take into account those discretionary factors that can increase or decrease your payments. And a spousal alimony calculator can’t help you resolve a dispute. That’s why you need an experienced Albany lawyer guiding you through your alimony calculations and negotiations.
Do Women Get More Than Men in an Alimony Settlement Agreement?
A very common misconception regarding alimony is that women earners do not have to pay men and that the husband always has to make support payments to his former wife. However, it is never that simple. More than 40 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that alimony had to be equal among the sexes. When it comes to alimony payments, the higher-earning spouse owes the lower-earning spouse, regardless of sex. However, according to data from the 2010 Census, and reported by Time Magazine, only three percent of alimony recipients are men.
Why the big disparity among the sexes? Of the roughly 400,000 current alimony recipients in the U.S., the vast majority are women because of a few factors. First of all, slightly more jobs in the U.S. are filled by men than women.
According to Chron.com, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2011, women made up 47 percent of the workforce. While that margin is only a six percent difference (men made up 53 percent of the workforce) that, in addition to the difference in wages, helps explain part of the men versus women spousal support question. Women still only make 77 cents to the dollar that men make, which has been slow to change in the past five decades as sexism in our country refuses to relinquish its grasp. For social reasons, men may be more predisposed to turn down the opportunity of receiving alimony payments. Despite what the statistics show, we always advocate on behalf of our clients’ best interests, regardless of their sex.
How Many Types of Spousal Support Are There in Albany?
There are two types of alimony or maintenance payments in New York: temporary maintenance and post-divorce maintenance. Post-divorce maintenance may be durational or non-durational. Durational maintenance is paid for a set period of time, while non-durational maintenance is for the recipient’s lifetime.
Temporary maintenance is used to help the lower earning spouse “regain” their financial footing. It may be used for re-education, learning a new job skill, or paying for living expenses during the divorce period while they seek a new occupation.
Usually, durational or non-durational maintenance is awarded when the marriage has lasted a longer period of time, when the higher earner is wealthy, or when the lower-earning spouse is in the twilight years of their life or may have difficulty re-entering the workforce. Non-durational or durational alimony or maintenance is used to keep the lower-earning spouse in the lifestyle they grew accustomed to during the marriage, or keep them as close to that lifestyle as possible. An alimony attorney in Albany could determine what kinds of spousal support may be applicable to your case.
Contact an Albany Alimony Attorney for Guidance
The latest changes to the laws regarding spousal maintenance took effect in January 2016. It is important for your lawyer to be familiar with the recent statutory changes and how the Courts are applying the new spousal maintenance formulas.
Finally, you may also be entitled to temporary spousal maintenance while the divorce is pending. In certain situations, spousal support may also be available before a divorce is commenced. There are also very recent changes to the laws regarding these awards.
If you’re considering a divorce, let us put our considerable skill and experience to work for you. Call our Albany alimony lawyers today!
Divorce is probably the most frightening thing I have ever had to go through in my life. Nothing can prepare you for... what you're going to experience - whether that be emotionally, monetarily, or just the sheer amount of knowledge required to navigate through. Picking the right law group and then attorney/lawyer is just the beginning. The options are endless and you can only hope you make the right decision. I was assigned to Marissa Gordon, and words truly cannot express how thankful and lucky I am. From the beginning she was beyond approachable and made herself available for every question/concern/need/etc. in a very timely manner. I cannot begin to explain how scared this whole situation has made me feel, but at the end of the day I felt safe knowing that she was handling my case. Thank you for all the care, consideration, and treating me like a human, not just a number. I know this is a decision I'll never regret.read more
Employed Colwell for a custody case. First lawyer seemed disinterested and unhelpful. Was appointed Kyle Starks after... that. He was attentive, reachable, and truly cared about me and my kids. We were successful in large part to his counsel and work. Highly recommend.read more
I contacted the Colwell law group when I needed an attorney. Amanda Iannone-Hens was assigned to represent me and did... an excellent job. She made me feel comfortable and answered my questions in a very timely fashion. Should the need arise, I will absolutely retain her services again. I highly recommend this law firm!read more
Divorce and custody issues are never easy, but the staff at Colwell are amazing and made me feel comfortable and put my... mind at ease. My initial contact was with Lauren. She was professional and made me feel like family. I would recommend Cowell Law Group to anyone beginning the Family Court process.read more
My Divorce Consultation experience at The Colwell Law Group In Albany was great!Their Client Relations Manager, Jill... Boomhower, is very knowledgeable, kind, personable and responsive to my questions. The expertise of the consultation has made me certain that this is the law group that I want to represent me.read more
The kindness and understanding shown to me when I called this group for help was something I had not experienced... before. Jill explained in great detail what they thought they could do to help me. She spent time and most of all showed me great compassion. I was not prepared for the empathetic response. I highly recommend this group. I felt like they treated me as a family member, not a stranger. This is unusual in a world that sometimes forgets to be humane to one another. I am very thankful to her, and look forward to working with them.read more
After almost a whole year of feeling nothing but stress on my shoulders, Colwell Law Group has lifted that stress in... every aspect! My attorney, Amanda Iannone-Hens, has been very insightful and vigilant throughout my case. I'm very grateful for what everyone has done for me; from the first time I called looking for help in the little amount of time I had and until now I have nothing but gratitude for this firm and all they've done for me!read more
Very nice people! Very helpful and understanding through the whole process! I feel they went above and beyond to make... things easier and smoother. Very knowledgeable in their practice and easy to communicate with in a timely fashion. Plus they always have coffee. Lindsey Philips was awesome to work with and also my attorney Kyle Starks was awesome too! Would recommend him to anyone!read more
I like the starting process here. You don’t have to pay a few hundred dollars initial consultation fee just to... understand how the lawyers to handle your case. Instead, you meet with a very experienced customer relationship person to take the background information and arrange the legal support for you. I met with Linsey and very much impressed with her professionalism and compassion. She’s knowledgeable, responsible, and cares. I’m happy with the experience.read more
I retained Anthony Sokolowski, 17 months into my divorce and custody case. I could not have made a better decision.... Anthony, wanted to understand where exactly we were in the divorce/custody case, so that he could be sure that we were all working together towards a common goal.Anthony was not only understanding that divorce and custody cases are hard, but was also willing to work around my work schedule, always listened to what I had to say, and addressed each and every concern, always made sure that I fully understood each and every possible outcome. Even though this was a hard case to handle, he always made me feel important, and that he truly cared and not that I was just another paying client on his books.I could not have been happier with the decision to retain him for counsel, he went with every twist that this case had, and there was plenty always ensuring me that things will get better, and we are in this together. Anthony took a already hard situation, and made each conversation feel a little lighter with his sense of humor, and kind words. It was nice to finally have counsel that truly cared, and we were working towards a common goal. While working towards a common goal we were finally able to end the case, and everyone is pleased with the outcome. I would highly recommend him, to friends or family in the event that they were dealt the cards I was.Anthony truly is a stunning attorney, with a gentle heart, kinds words, and has a unique ability to be able shed some light on our darkest of days.Thankful for all those i encountered at the firm, but more importantly thankful for Anthony's understanding, and flexibility because this was a tough case, he took it on without even knowing the history of 17 months.read more
Through a yearlong and difficult divorce, Anthony Sokolowski was a skilled attorney who helped me navigate the most... challenging aspects of a divorce and custody battle. He was on top of things throughout, always patient and empathetic. When things got tough he was a strong defender and he had embodied my situation when I needed him to do that.read more
I retained Attorney Anthony Sokolowski for my very difficult and complicated divorce and custody case. Anthony was not... only knowledgeable but personable and I never felt alone throughout process. Anthony was always honest and genuine with me, he was always available and made me feel safe in the fact that he was fighting for my and my child’s best interest. I worked with Anthony for over a year and this held true throughout entire time. We ended with getting what I asked for and the best possible outcome for myself and my child.I highly recommend Anthony Sokolowski for any family law needs.read more
I was referred to this Law Group from a local office and I'm glad I followed through. I was represented by Kyle who... was professional, responsive, and easy to work with. I felt very comfortable with his representation. Thank you....Carmel Reillyread more
My experience was truly enlightening and very welcoming! I spoke with Kito who instantaneously related with my... situation and assured me that the firm could help me and I believe him. Five stars all around. It’s nice to meet people who have the same compassion for fathers rights and actually love to help instead of just pushing papers through. Thanks For all the information and encouragement Kito .read more
From the very first call, this law firm has been nothing short of exceptional. My family is working with Kyle, who... consistently provides support, dedication, responsiveness, and who utilizes his experience to help us navigate family court and custody. Every interaction is professional, and I would highly recommend the Colwell Law Group.read more