Published on: July 17, 2023

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. At Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer, our experienced New York City spousal support lawyers understand the complexities of alimony laws and the role of alimony in high net worth divorce. We work diligently to ensure our clients’ rights and financial well-being are protected. Contact us at (212) 537-5859 to schedule a consultation and let us provide the guidance you need to navigate through this challenging time and secure a fair alimony arrangement.

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.

Manhattan alimony attorney

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 than 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?

Alimony can be categorized as either durational or non-durational, depending on the circumstances and the judge’s assessment. Durational alimony is provided for a specific period, while non-durational alimony is granted indefinitely.

In cases where the judge deems durational alimony appropriate, they may follow a suggested schedule based on the duration of the marriage.

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.

The judge holds discretionary power to award non-durational or permanent alimony when it is deemed necessary. For instance, the judge may order payments without a predetermined end date if the marriage was of long duration and one spouse did not enter the workforce due to the other spouse’s high income.

In the case of non-durational support, the decision is typically permanent and remains in effect until one of the following conditions is met: 

  • the death of either spouse
  • the recipient spouse’s remarriage
  • the recipient spouse consistently cohabitates with a partner and represents that person as a spouse.

If you’re seeking guidance on alimony laws and regulations in New York, a skilled spousal support attorney can be invaluable. At the Law Office of Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer, our experienced New York City spousal support lawyers possess a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding alimony laws. We can help safeguard your rights and interests and help you achieve a favorable outcome in your alimony case. Contact us at (212) 537-5859 and schedule a consultation.

Length of Marriage Alimony Duration (Guidelines) Percentage Range
Up to 15 years 15% to 30% of the marriage length 15% – 30%
15 to 20 years 30% to 40% of the marriage length 30% – 40%
More than 20 years 35% to 59% of the marriage length 35% – 59%

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