Can spousal maintenance payments be terminated in New York?

| Jul 5, 2021 | Uncategorized |

While spousal maintenance is not mandatory in every divorce settlement, the court may consider awarding alimony if they establish a significant gap in one of the party’s finances or earning capacity following a divorce. 

When spousal support is awarded, the payments are usually predetermined depending on the duration of the marriage in question. New York state laws outline circumstances when spousal maintenance is appropriate, guidelines for determining the amount, and the circumstances under which it can be modified or terminated. 

Here are three circumstances where spousal maintenance can be terminated in New York.

1. When the receiving spouse remarries

Unless the divorce ruling specifically indicated that the receiving spouse may enter into another marriage while on alimony, spousal support effectively comes to an end once the recipient enters into another marital relationship. If the recipient continues to receive spousal support after entering into a new marriage, the obligor has a just cause to sue for reimbursement for such payments. 

2. When the recipient cohabits with another person

In New York, just as with most states, cohabitation provides grounds for terminating spousal support. However, it is important to understand that cohabitation means more than the recipient spending just a night from time to time with their partner. Cohabitation, in this instance, refers to a romantic couple living together and acting as if married. As such, it is the duty of the obligor to prove that their ex-spouse is cohabiting with their partner and, as such, are ineligible for spousal support. 

3. Change in the obligor’s financial status

If there are significant changes to the obligor’s finances rendering them incapable of providing, they may consider petitioning the court to terminate or review the spousal support agreement. However, change in financial circumstances must be significant to justify a review of the spousal support. Based on the obligor’s financial circumstances, the court may choose to review the payments downwards or terminate them altogether. 

Petitioning the court to review or terminate spousal maintenance is a complex and technical process. Just because you or your ex-spouse’s circumstances have changed does not guarantee that your petition will be approved. An experienced family law attorney can review your case and offer the legal representation you need to get a favorable outcome for your spousal support case.