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Factors that affect spousal support decisions

Very little about divorce is simple, but the complexity of marital property distribution and spousal support can be overwhelming. In New York, if the parties involved in a divorce cannot agree on these issues, the state Supreme Court will order support from one spouse to another based on the circumstances of the case.

Spousal support orders are determined by a long list of factors. Since support payments are affected by the distribution of marital property, the court will consider any income or assets the parties have, including the property award as well as any dissipation of assets that occurred during the marriage. Factors that may affect the length of time it will take either party to reach self-sufficiency will also be noted. Additionally, the length of the marriage and the age and health of both parties, the presence of children, contributions and services of each spouse marriage are taken into consideration. The loss of or a reduction in one's earning capacity for his or lifetime as well as any sacrifices or transfers made upon entering the marriage will also affect the Supreme Court's decisions regarding spousal support.

Finally, the courts will deliberate upon tax ramifications and any other considerations it deems to be proper and just. The Supreme Court of New York essentially examines all circumstances that affect divorces to determine the fairest outcomes for those ending their marriages.

In the case of spousal support and asset division, family law attorneys could help with the inherent difficulties of the situation. With so many factors contributing to the court's decision, a professional who can prepare arguments in support of a spouse during a contentious case may be beneficial.

Source: Divorce Support, "New York Spousal Support/Maintenance/Alimony Factors", September 15, 2014

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