There is a formula, and anyone curious to get the answer can go online to find a readily available answer on Google. You punch in the numbers as far as what you make, what your spouse makes, whether there are any children, and if there’s child support, and it does the calculation. Of course, it can also consider other factors. But anyone who wants to know can go online and go to the New York State maintenance calculator, and it shows exactly how it’s calculated, and you’ll know within the guidelines of what the amount will be.
Under What Circumstances Could Spousal Support Or Alimony Be Modified In New York?
It can be modified, again, by a substantial change in circumstance. For example, if the payer spouse has a significant change in circumstance that has lost their income through no fault of their own, has developed a disability, has reached an age where they can no longer work for whatever reason, you can make the application. Similarly, suppose it turns out that the recipient spouse now has substantially more income than previously. In that case, you can go on for a downward modification so that you pay that person less money.
Sometimes people get remarried who are the recipients of spousal support or maintenance, and they don’t tell anybody. Then, when the payer spouse finds out about it, they go into court for a downward modification to terminate or extinguish the obligation. But suppose the circumstances are such that you have a factual predicate to establish a justification for a substantial change in circumstance, then yes. In that case, you can go in and seek a downward modification.
Throughout The Course Of This Pandemic, Did You Have A Lot Of Alimony Or Spousal Support And Child Support Modifications Due To People Losing Jobs And Those Types Of Situations?
There are a good number of them, yes. Earlier on in the pandemic, when the courts were closed, many applications were being made to the family court. The courts were not accepting applications, and you couldn’t file the petition. So what we would tell clients is to attempt to file the petition even if the court does not accept it. So when the courts reopen and file for a modification, we can say it should be rolled back because modifications become effective from the date you filed your application if the modification is granted. So we are asking the court to exercise its equitable jurisdiction to roll back to the attempted filing date, and we couldn’t because of the pandemic. So yes, many people have unfortunately sustained horrible economic change of circumstances that require the courts to act and give them some economic relief.
For Couples Who Are Newly Divorced Or In That Transition, That’s Also Been A Confusing Struggle With Who Gets What, Who Can Claim The Child, Who Gets The Child Credits. Are You Seeing Any Of That And How Is That Being Addressed?
Yes, we do see some of that because some people are trying to benefit from the child exemption on their tax return when they shouldn’t because they are not the parent providing the substantial support for the child. So low and behold, we have a client, for instance, who is the custodial parent and is entitled to take the exemption on their tax return, they file their return, and it gets bounced because they are finding out that their former spouse claimed it on their return. So it is a problem, and we have to demand adjustments, so, unfortunately, we have to go to court for an order of the court directing the non-custodial parent what they can and cannot do. It has created confusion, and as is the nature of man, people try to take advantage of the circumstances.