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Spousal Maintenance, Alimony and Spousal Support, on Long Island, NY

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Alimony, Spousal Support, Long Island, NY
Alimony, Spousal Support, Long Island, NY

Spousal Support and Alimony on Long Island, NY

On Long Island, NY, when one spouse makes more money than the other, and they get divorced, alimony or spousal support may be ordered to help the spouse that makes the least get back up on their feet. Usually it’s temporary, but sometimes it may be permanent if a court deems it necessary. Here’s what you need to know about spousal maintenance on Long Island, NY and how our qualified and experienced Long Island divorce attorneys can help you.

What Is Spousal Support and Spousal Maintenance

Alimony, sometimes referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a payment made to the lesser income-earning spouse by the higher income-earning spouse.

Spousal maintenance might be temporary and may be paid during the pendency of a divorce, or it might be ordered to continue post-divorce. The amount and duration of spousal maintenance can be determined privately by the spouses in a written agreement or can be court ordered by a judge in a pending or final divorce.



What Am I Entitled to in My Divorce?

Does Alimony Count as Income in New York?

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Types of Alimony

Alimony on Long Island, NY can either be temporary or permanent:

Temporary Maintenance

Temporary alimony is spousal maintenance awarded during the pendency of your divorce and sometimes for a period after divorce the divorce is finalized. The purpose of these payments is to allow the lesser-earning spouse to continue meeting their financial obligations as they had been prior to the commencement of the action for divorce, including health insurance and costs associated with maintaining the marital home.

Permanent Maintenance

In rare cases, one spouse may be ordered to pay alimony to the other permanently. While this is very rare, a judge may decide permanent alimony is needed if the lesser-earning spouse is disabled or otherwise can’t be expected to be able to support themselves in the future.



Variations of Alimony

Can I Get Permanent Spousal Support, Alimony or Maintenance?


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How to Calculate Spousal Support on Long Island, NY

Calculating alimony is based on factors directly relating to the marriage and not just a numeric formula. Under New York’s Domestic Relations Law, courts are required to look at the parties’ pre-separation standard of living along with other factors like:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of both parties
  • The ability of the lesser-earning spouse to become self-supporting in the future
  • Whether the actions of one spouse inhibited the other from obtaining an education or valuable employment during the course of the marriage
  • Whether one spouse wasted marital assets to the detriment of the other spouse

The statute also provides the court with a “catch-all” factor for anything else the court may deem just and proper. This factor makes the award of spousal maintenance fact-specific and permits the court to ask about the individual circumstances of your marriage.

The duration of post-divorce maintenance is calculated with another formula based on the length of the marriage.

  • For marriages that lasted up to and including 15 years, maintenance is awarded for 15% to 30% of the length of the marriage
  • For marriages that lasted for more than 15 years up to and including 20 years, maintenance is awarded for 30% to 40% of the length of the marriage
  • For marriages which lasted more than 20 years, the duration of the award is 35% to 50% of the length of the marriage



Will I Pay More Alimony If My Spouse Has a Disability?

How to Protect Yourself from Paying Unreasonable Spousal Support


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Spousal Maintenance

Do courts have to use the standard formula to calculate how much support I will pay or receive?

Judges aren’t strictly bound by the standard alimony formula and can make changes if it determines the award is too high or low. Also, if the paying spouse’s income is above $178,000, the court will still only calculate alimony based on a $178,000 salary, but they can deviate from this formula if it determines it to be necessary.



How to Avoid Paying Alimony In New York


What happens if I also have to pay child support?

When the spouse who would pay alimony is also responsible for child support, courts use a slightly different formula to calculate the amount of support to be paid. This allows the payor to better manage the demands of paying both spousal maintenance and child support.

First, courts subtract 25% of the recipient’s income from 20% of the payor’s income. This becomes figure A. Then, a separate calculation is done. The payor and the recipient’s original incomes are each multiplied by 40%, and then the recipient’s aggregated income is subtracted from the payor’s aggregated income. This becomes figure B.

Then, the recipient is awarded the lower of either figure A or figure B.


Can my alimony order be modified or removed?

You are legally bound by your support order and cannot just change it if your circumstances change. You must go to court to have the order changed legally. You can petition to modify your alimony order if there is a substantial change in your financial circumstances.

For example, if the paying spouse lost their job, experienced a pay cut, or had a sudden illness, or if the receiving spouse is cohabitating in a new relationship, gets remarried, or becomes self-supporting, the court may decide to change the award.

Maintenance payments always terminate upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the receiving spouse.



Lost Your Job? Can You Reduce Your Child Support or Alimony Payments?

I Can’t Afford Alimony — What Do I Do?

How Can I Get Alimony Terminated on Long Island, NY?

When Can You Stop Paying Alimony on Long Island?

Will Cohabitation After a NY Divorce Affect My Alimony?


Can my spouse and I decide on our own support agreement?

Couples who agree on the terms of their spousal support can have it made legally binding by submitting it to the court at the time of their divorce. You can set alimony to be paid for a set number of years, or you can agree to a maintenance award for one amount until a specific event, after which the maintenance award will change. Most commonly included are the death of either party and the remarriage of the receiving spouse.

You can also set parameters on the paying spouse’s income, such as agreeing that a maintenance obligation will never be based on less than a certain amount, or if the income of the paying spouse decreases by more than a specific amount, the parties will agree to an adjusted amount of support.


Will courts make me pay more alimony based on my gender?

The Supreme Court has determined that discriminating against one party in an alimony case based on gender is unconstitutional. As a result, New York, like all other states, had to revise its alimony laws so that husbands and wives were treated equally.

Now, either spouse can be ordered to pay spousal support to the other. Since that time, many changes have been made to alimony laws in New York, including gender-neutral language that works when applying the law to same sex marriages.



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How does my prenuptial or postnuptial agreement affect alimony?

If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place and it addresses spousal support, you will need to follow these terms unless you can prove that the agreement itself is invalid or unfair. This is part of what makes having a prenup in place so important, since you can cement your right to spousal support before you ever even think about divorce, just in case.


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Get Qualified Legal Help for Your Alimony and Spousal Support Lawyers on Long Island, NY

To learn more about spousal maintenance on Long Island, NY and how you can protect yourself and your future in the event of a divorce, contact Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today. We will review your case at no charge and let you know what legal options are available to you. Call now at 631-923-1910 or fill out our short online contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

For more information on alimony and spousal support, please read our article, How to Avoid Paying Alimony or Spousal Support in New York


Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.


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