Brooklyn, NY – While the divorce process can be a huge expense until finalized, payments that continue even after the marriage has ended are another source of financial stress for some divorcees. Alimony is the term for when a spouse with higher earning potential will have to financially support their former partner even after a divorce

The reason for alimony after a marriage ends

Alimony payments are meant to ensure that one spouse can enjoy the same standard of living they had during their marriage, even though the marriage has ended. The person may have reduced earning capacity if they were a homemaker or passed up on career opportunities throughout the course of the marriage, so courts have attempted to remedy this problem with alimony. 

The two types of alimony in New York

New York law uses two types of alimony to accomplish this goal. There is durational spousal maintenance and permanent spousal maintenance. The purpose of durational spousal maintenance is supposed to give the person enough time with financial support to gain experience, training, and other forms of assistance that will help them enter the workforce. After the person is successfully working and supporting their lifestyle, these payments will end. Permanent maintenance is for divorced people in a much more serious situation. The court will award permanent maintenance if there is a belief that one spouse cannot ever become self-sufficient due to the duration of a very long marriage and the person’s age. There usually needs to be a finding that there was a wide disparity in income or that the person receiving the payments will not be able to start a normal career due to health reasons or other problems. 

Determining the length of support payments

In New York courts, a spouse can technically be awarded alimony even if they had a very short marriage, although this rarely happens. If a marriage lasted only between a few months and a year, it is extremely unlikely that any alimony will be paid out. There is also an advisory schedule used by the courts that generally says the support payments should last about fifteen to thirty percent as long as the marriage did, although this starts to increase for marriages that were fifteen years or longer. As a general rule, alimony will coincide with the length of the marriage, although people who were married a few years or less should end up either not paying alimony or only paying for a short period of time. 

Assistance from a professional family law firm in New York

Elliot Green Law Offices is available to help with alimony issues and related problems after any divorce in the Brooklyn area. People who are struggling with family law issues can receive professional advice and representation from the firm.  

Firm contact info:

Elliot Green Law Offices

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


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