Brooklyn, NYAlimony payments are meant to help a person maintain their standard of living after a marriage has ended. The spouse with higher earning capacity will make payments to the other so that there is not an extreme and sudden drop in their quality of life. However, alimony payments are almost always made for a limited period of time, as there is an expectation that the spouse receiving the payments will eventually increase their income and build a career, or at least remarry. The specific amount of the payments is determined by a number of factors.  

Factors that go into alimony decisions

There are several statutory factors that judges must use to determine an alimony payment, although they are still given some discretion to order a final amount that they feel is appropriate. These can include child custody and the number of children dependent on the spouse, the spouse’s own financial resources, their earning capacity, and how likely they are to return to financial independence. If the spouse needs to devote lots of time to child care, this can also be an important reason for awarding alimony.  

Catchall provisions

A judge can also take into consideration anything based on the spouses financial, social, and economic situations. This gives them discretion that they can use to award an amount that they feel is necessary, even if their decision is not strictly guided by any single factor. 

Duration of payments

Aside from the amount of the payments, they may last for different amounts of time depending on several factors. As a general rule, longer marriages will require longer durations of alimony payments. It is also possible that a very long marriage where the spouse with less income has little chance of starting a career at an advanced age may result in permanent alimony. Shorter marriages may not require any alimony at all. 

Can alimony be used to deter certain kinds of behavior?

Judges cannot issue alimony simply because of factors such as domestic violence, infidelity, child abuse, or anything else that may reflect poorly on the spouse. Even if the couple is divorcing for a traditional fault based reason under New York law, this does not mean that the payment will be affected by the specific reasons for the divorce. A spouse also cannot recommend that the payments be increased merely because of prior acts of misconduct. 

New York family lawyers

It is possible to get advice from a licensed family law attorney in the Brooklyn area. Elliot Green Law Offices helps clients with divorces, child custody issues, alimony payments, child support, and other aspects of family court.  

Firm contact info:

Elliot Green Law Offices

32 Court Street, Suite 404, Brooklyn, NY, 11201


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