Last Updated On: September 3, 2021

Does Alimony Last Forever?

Going through a divorce can be emotionally and financially draining. But it’s important to separate one’s emotions from finances and make sure that all party’s well-being is taken care of.

That’s why it is crucial to have a full understanding of alimony when going through a divorce.

How Does Alimony Work in New York?

In New York City, the financial support one spouse receives from the other after the divorce is known as alimony or maintenance. The court rules on the specific period of time during which the spouse provides the maintenance. The provided money should support another spouse who makes less and needs financial help.

Whether you get alimony in New York depends on your spouse’s financial status, which is assessed by the court. The spouse can seek temporary alimony, to get through the divorce process, or qualify for long-term financial support.

How Much Alimony Can Spouse Receive?

The amount of alimony one may receive depends primarily on how much the former partner earns and whether the couple had children. The court will also take that into consideration if you are receiving child support after the divorce.

In 2020, New York’s income cap to calculate maintenance amounted to $192,000. If the spouse paying alimony receives equal or less the income cap, the court will calculate the spousal support according to a specific formula and will look at the incomes of both spouses.

In addition to alimony, the court may also award additional maintenance if the paying spouse’s income is above the income cap. To determine the amount of additional maintenance, the court will consider a number of factors:

  • The spouse’s age and health state
  • The education or training that the spouse receiving the alimony might need
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The spouse’s living standards before divorce and some other

How Long Does Alimony Last?

It is the court that will decide how long a spouse has to pay maintenance in each particular case, but many times the alimony length depends on how long the couple has been married.

The NY law gives the following guidelines for the alimony length:

  • For a marriage of up to 15 years alimony lasts 15% to 30% of the marriage length
  • For a marriage of between 15 to 20 years alimony lasts 30% to 40% of the marriage length
  • For a marriage of more than 20 years alimony lasts 35% to 59% of the marriage length

Besides these guidelines, sometimes the judge might take other factors into consideration like the previously mentioned factors for providing larger alimony.



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