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Types of Alimony (Spousal Support) in New York (2024)

Types of Alimony (Spousal Support) in New York (2024)

Spousal maintenance, commonly called alimony, serves to help one spouse remain financially stable during and after a divorce. The maintenance can last for several years or longer, but there are provisions on when those payments end. If you are seeking alimony or have questions about how alimony works, your New York alimony lawyer is here to help.

Our law firm has helped many clients seek just compensation during or after a divorce. If you believe that a court may rule that you have to pay spousal support, our lawyers can work on your behalf to protect your interests.

Types of Alimony

New York courts consider two types of alimony. Temporary maintenance (pendente lite maintenance) is a type of alimony that is awarded during the divorce. This type of support may be given when one spouse does not work or in situations where there is significant inequality in earnings between the two parties. This form of support is not open-ended. The judge will consider statutory guidelines when determining this amount.

Post-divorce maintenance begins after the divorce is finalized. Guidelines for this longer-term support will be included in the final divorce decree. The judge will consider factors like how long the marriage lasted and the income of both spouses. These decisions must follow statutory guidelines set by the state.

Types of Alimony (Spousal Support) In New York

Is Alimony Ever Permanent?

Alimony is often paid for extended periods, but there are provisions for when it can end. In cases where a marriage lasted decades, and one spouse did not work or is old or ill by the time of the divorce, permanent alimony may be awarded.

Alimony can end in cases where the recipient remarries, one party dies, or when one recipient lives with a long-term partner. Specifics of these conditions will be included in decrees that involve long-term alimony agreements. Even after alimony is set, either party may seek to modify those terms if there have been substantial changes to the livelihood and financial prospects of one party.

What Factors Determine Alimony?

For a court to determine alimony, both parties must first disclose their financial information. This includes disclosures of properties, income, and assets. Once expenses and liabilities are subtracted, the court can determine each spouse’s net worth. Family courts are required to follow specific formulas when determining spousal support. Here are some of the more common factors that a court will consider when settling maintenance.

  • -Age and health of both parties
  • -Present and potential future earnings of both parties
  • -Cost of one party undergoing training and education for gainful employment
  • -Length of pre-marital cohabitation
  • -Any acts that inhibited one party from working (like physical abuse)
  • -Reduced earning capacity due to lost career opportunities during marriage
  • -Location of children in relation to both parents
  • -The inability of one party to work due to age or absence from the workplace
  • -Need for care of disabled children or elderly parents
  • -Health insurance considerations
  • -Any other factor, including immigration status, deemed relevant and proper

Determining alimony can be a complicated task, which is why hiring a trusted and experienced divorce attorney can save you time and money. While it is technically possible to have alimony agreements modified, doing so can be costly. Getting it right the first time can prevent the need for further litigation.


Q: Can I Fight Having to Pay Alimony?

A: Yes. There are few predetermined outcomes in court. Even if your former spouse seeks alimony, there are ways to reduce or even eliminate alimony payments. One way is through working with an experienced attorney. Having accurate financial records can show that one party is not significantly wealthier than the other or that changing circumstances will likely alter the financial circumstances of one party. Having to pay alimony is not a foregone conclusion when you work with the right New York divorce attorney.

Q: Will the Court Examine My Finances?

A: Both spouses must reveal to the court all of their income and property. The court will expect to see financial records, tax returns, pay stubs, and any other kind of documentation that reveals financial and property status. Once a court has these documents, it will set a schedule for the valuation of the property. The type of property that spouses have and whether it can produce income may have an impact on an alimony award.

Q: How Long Is Spousal Support Paid in NY State?

A: There is no set term for how long spousal support will be paid, although any final agreement will include those unique details. Spousal support can last for the duration of the divorce proceedings only or as part of a separation agreement. In other cases, the support could last a few to several years or longer. In cases where the supported former spouse is elderly or ill, a court may order lifetime support for that individual. One common reason why alimony ends is due to the supported party remarrying or committing to a long-term partnership.

Q: Is Spousal Support Mandatory in New York?

A: No. A compelling argument must be made in accordance with spousal maintenance statutes for a family court to award alimony. In cases where both partners work and have relatively similar assets, there would be little grounds for awarding alimony. However, there are many situations where it is in the interest of one of our clients to seek alimony.

One of our New York divorce attorneys can seek spousal maintenance during and/or after the divorce is finalized. Many of our former clients have received favorable outcomes by working with our firm on these and other legal issues.

Schedule Your Alimony Support Consultation Today

In cases where one spouse makes significantly more than the other, a court may order spousal maintenance. Each case is unique, and there is no easy way to estimate what the final maintenance will be or if a court will award alimony at all. One way that someone going through a divorce can improve the chances of receiving alimony is by hiring an experienced attorney who understands New York laws for spousal support.

Whether you are seeking alimony or wishing to fight having to pay alimony, the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, is here to help. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.

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