Divorce is messy. After so many years of marriage, the spouses’ lives become so intertwined that it becomes difficult to disentangle them.
For example, it’s likely that one spouse is economically dependent on the other. The courts recognize that it may be difficult for the dependent spouse to support themselves after the marriage is dissolved.
To resolve this problem, New York courts will often proscribe spousal support or “alimony” to make the dependent spouse’s single life a little more tolerable.
However, in lieu of alimony, the court may give the dependent spouse the choice of retaining mutual property or assets. This classic ultimatum is often tersely stated as “alimony or property?”
Although it doesn’t seem all that complicated, both choices have far reaching consequences many soon to be ex-spouses never contemplate.
To make the alimony or property question easier, here are some important considerations:
Alimony is no sure thing
Yes. The court may order your ex-spouse to pay you alimony, but that doesn’t guarantee they will pay you alimony.
Your ex-spouse could be out of a job tomorrow and their income could dry up. With such an unfortunate change of circumstances, the presiding court may reduce their obligatory monthly payments.
On the other hand, taking the property up front means more stability down the road.
What is the property?
In some instances, property may refer to liquid assets such as cash or stock options. But it could also money real property like a house or land. This distinction is important because money usually retains it’s value, while the value of a house or stock options may depreciate considerably over time.
Yes. Like with many other aspects of divorce, tax implications abide. Alimony is generally considerable taxable income. Therefore, if the recipient is subject to 30 percent income tax, their alimony check just got a lot smaller.
Like divorce itself, divorce law is complicated. When it comes to complicated questions like alimony or property, it’s beneficial to have an experienced divorce lawyer by your side. They understand the nuances of New York law and can manage the process from start to finish to ensure your interests and rights are protected.