How Long Does an Alimony Award Last in New York?

Many divorces involve not only the fair and equitable division of marital assets, but also an award of spousal support. Alimony, also called spousal support and spousal maintenance, may be temporary, long term or permanent, depending on the circumstances. Spouses can also determine their own alimony arrangement before or during the marriage in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or during a divorce through a settlement agreement.

The court examines three basic issues when determining whether to award alimony:

  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Whether a spouse has sufficient property or income to provide for his or her own needs
  • Whether the other spouse can provide for the dependent spouse

To determine how much alimony should be awarded and for how long, the court examines a variety of factors such as the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse and how the marital property was distributed.

When a court awards temporary alimony, the dependent spouse receives payments during the divorce proceedings. Once the proceedings end, alimony also ends, unless the judge grants an alimony award to be paid over a set period of time, or permanent alimony. Permanent support generally continues until the receiving spouse either dies, remarries or cohabits with another adult. However, either spouse can seek to modify spousal maintenance when there is a significant change in circumstances. This includes modification for both increases and decreases.

There are many circumstances that may be reason for modification:

  • Job loss
  • Illness
  • Promotion or increase in income
  • Inheritance
  • Remarriage
  • Retirement (in good faith)

Ensuring the amount of alimony you receive or pay is fair is essential to keep you from being overburdened by divorce. A seasoned family lawyer  provides the strong representation ex-spouses need in Westchester and Putnam counties and the surrounding areas of New York.

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