Your Ex’s Family Has Money. Will You Still Need to Pay Alimony?

Your Ex’s Family Has Money. Will You Still Need to Pay Alimony?

A common question that comes up in family law practice is what happens when someone who comes from a modest background “marries into money” and then gets divorced. Specifically, if one spouse comes from a rich family, does that mean that he or she will never be entitled to alimony payments?

While your soon-to-be ex’s family money might pay for an excellent lawyer, the treasure chest will not play a role in the court’s alimony determination. Depending on the financial situation of you and your spouse, you could still end up paying spousal support to your ex. That’s because New York’s divorce and spousal maintenance laws look specifically at each spouse’s income. The law does not consider the financial situations of the couple’s parents, grandparents or other relatives.

Alimony determinations are made in one of two ways. One is to negotiate it as a part of your divorce agreement. By doing so, you take the issue out of the court’s hands. However, because spousal maintenance is all about money, conflict is common and the issue frequently goes to a judge. Whether you negotiate alimony or submit the issue to a judge, three types of support will be considered:

  • Temporary maintenance — Formerly known as alimony pendente lite, temporary maintenance is a form of support paid from one spouse to the other while the divorce process is ongoing.
  • Rehabilitative alimony — This type of maintenance is designed for a spouse who doesn’t have the proper education or job skills to be self-supporting after divorce. It is commonly awarded to a stay-at-home parent while he or she gains enough skills to get back into the workforce.
  • Permanent alimony — Permanent awards are very rare and usually come into play only if a spouse is elderly or cannot work due to a disability, illness or other impediment.

Even if your ex comes from a wealthy family, you could end up paying one or more types of alimony if he or she does not actually earn income from working. We encourage you to use our maintenance and support calculator to get a sense of whether you might be obligated to pay alimony and, if so, how much. Although the exact amount is ultimately up to the judge to approve, the calculator will give you a sense of what you could be facing.

The Long Island divorce lawyers of Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. represent payers and recipients of alimony. We fully understand the spousal maintenance rules and we will fight to protect your post-divorce financial life. Get started by calling 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County and throughout the island.

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