Divorce Advice: Information to Consider

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What to Do If Court-Ordered Alimony Is Not Being Paid

Published: Dec 17, 2018 12:34:30 PM // Topics: Spousal Maintenance
What Do You Do if Court-Ordered Alimony is Not Being Paid

In New York State, alimony is known as spousal maintenance. This is defined by the NYS Unified Court System as “support paid by one party to the marriage for the support of the other party to the marriage pursuant to a final Judgment of Divorce,” sometimes also referred to as “post-divorce maintenance” or “spousal support.” In the event that a spouse fails to pay this court-ordered alimony in the state of New York, he or she may be subject to penalty, which can include the indefinite suspension of driving privileges or the receipt of a civil contempt sanction, or even incarceration.

Generally speaking, these punishments will not be handed down without a prior warning; however, a second chance is rare. Usually, the spouse who failed to pay the court-ordered spousal maintenance will also be ordered to pay the attorneys' fees incurred by the other spouse for the legal work necessary to force him or her to pay.

Spousal maintenance is calculated by considering a variety of factors, which may include the following: 

  1. Income and property of each party

  2. Length of the marriage

  3. Age and health of both parties

  4. Present and future earning capacity of both parties

  5. Need of one party to incur education/training expenses

  6. Existence and duration of any premarital or pre-divorce habitations

  7. Acts that have inhibited a spouse’s ability to obtain employment

  8. Ability of the spouse seeking maintenance to become self-supporting

  9. Reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity of the spouse seeking maintenance

  10. Where the children live

  11. Need to care for family members other than children

  12. Inability of one spouse to obtain employment due to age or absence from workforce

  13. Need to pay for exceptional additional expenses

  14. Tax consequences to each spouse

  15. Equitable distribution of marital property

  16. Contributions and services of the spouse seeking maintenance

  17. Wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse

  18. Transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action

  19. Loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage

  20. Any other factor the court expressly finds to be just and proper

Should any of the above factors change over time, as in the case of either spouse remarrying, cohabiting with another, or passing away, a modification in maintenance will be permitted. Each situation is unique and must therefore be evaluated as such by a team of experienced divorce and spousal maintenance lawyers. Following the divorce proceedings, it is important to continue to consult with your law firm should the need arise, specifically if a supporting spouse fails to keep up with alimony payments.

For further information about spousal maintenance, or for guidance on how to enforce payment of it, contact Sunshine & Feinstein today for a consultation. 

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