New York Divorce FAQs – Alimony

This is about alimony after divorce in New York, including when courts order alimony, how the amount of alimony is set in New York, and how and when New York courts stop alimony once it’s awarded.

This information is from Steven Abel, the DivorceInfo Network Lawyer for New York. Click here for information on him.

When does alimony get paid?

Upon agreement or divorce.

How does the court decide how much?

The court must take into account the financial circumstances of both parties, including their reasonable needs and means. The court must also consider the paying spouse’s present and anticipated income, the benefiting spouse’s present and future earning capacity, and both parties’ standard of living. Maintenance is designed to give a spouse economic independence and should continue only so long as required to render the recipient self-supporting, and it should also provide an appropriate incentive to become financially independent.

The pre-separation standard of living provides the standard for permanent alimony payments, if the other spouse has the financial ability to maintain it. However, support need not be based upon the pre-separation standard, when the parties have lived beyond their means during the marriage. The parties’ post-divorce financial circumstances should be given greater weight.

In determining whether spousal maintenance should be permanent (lifetime) or durational, the courts consider such factors as the length of the marriage, the age, health, education, and employment experience of the recipient spouse, and whether there are young children at home. In fixing the amount of support that the court will award, it must also take into consideration debts and obligations.

What does it take to change alimony?

The agreement of the parties; or a substantial change in the financial circumstances of either party, such as the employment situation of the recipient spouse, or payor spouse; or the re-marriage of the recipient spouse

When does alimony stop?

Upon agreement of the parties, the death of the payor, or remarriage. Maintenance is designed to give a spouse economic independence and should continue only as long as required to render the recipient self-supporting.

Other issues in New York: