Trustworthy Rochester Divorce Lawyer Pursues Fair Alimony Awards
Christian principles guide effective negotiations that yield positive results
Alimony, or spousal maintenance, exists to prevent divorce from causing undue financial hardship to one spouse and unjust enrichment to the other. However, an unrealistic alimony award can fail to achieve that goal or even have the opposite effect. At the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. in Rochester, we help our clients negotiate fair alimony settlements based on their true finances and earning ability. Guided by Christian principles, we seek solutions that empower dependent spouses to become self-supporting without being punitive toward supporting spouses. We pursue the least adversarial means possible to reach an agreement, but when an opposing party is unreasonable, we respond appropriately to uphold our client’s rights.
The basics of alimony in New York State
If not for alimony, dependent spouses would too often have to remain in a failed marriage or accept poverty as the price of freedom. Instead, a dependent spouse can request temporary alimony, known as pendente lite, as soon as the petition for divorce is filed. A pendente lite award is meant to maintain the spouse at the current standard of living. The court uses a statutory formula to calculate temporary support.
Historically, the expectation was that a husband would pay alimony to the wife for her lifetime, or until she remarried. Today, alimony is gender neutral; the question of which spouse might pay is based entirely on earnings. The presumption of permanent alimony has also given way to durational or nondurational alimony. A durational award is fixed for a number of years. It’s designed to assist a spouse in the transition from dependence to self-support. Nondurational awards, which are ongoing for the life of the recipient spouse, are reserved for marriages of long duration and those in which a dependent spouse cannot be expected to become self-supporting.
Applying statutory factors to reach a settlement
The law provides a long list of statutory factors the court must consider when deciding whether to award alimony, how much to award and whether to set a time limit for the award. These include:
- The income and property of both spouses
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of the spouses
- The ability of the receiving spouse to become self-supporting
- Whether caring for young children would prevent a dependent spouse from obtaining gainful employment
In helping our clients reach a settlement, we draw on our family court experience and our knowledge of how judges generally apply these factors to the facts of a case. When parties behave reasonably, there is an excellent chance of reaching an alimony settlement through traditional negotiations or mediation. However, when one or the other refuses to be truthful about finances or won’t face the facts of the situation, it often becomes necessary to litigate the issue. When this happens, we go to court fully prepared, employing our skill and knowledge to protect our client’s financial interests.
Contact a faith-based family lawyer in Rochester to reach a fair alimony settlement
The Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. in Rochester practices family law with a Christian sensibility. If you are engaged in an alimony dispute, we can protect your rights while pursuing fair terms for settlement. Mention our website when you call us at 585-563-1134 or when you contact us online and receive a free 30-minute initial consultation.