Select Page

How to Protect Yourself from Paying Unreasonable Spousal Support (Alimony)

Oct 20, 2020 | Alimony and Spousal Support, NY

Alimony, also called spousal support, is a significant issue for most couples going through a divorce on Long Island. If you’re the higher-earning spouse, you could be stuck paying too much alimony for too long if you’re not careful. Here’s how you can protect yourself from paying unreasonable spousal support during and after your divorce.

Divorce Attorney Consultation

Work with an Experienced Long Island Divorce Lawyer

Negotiating for fair alimony is nearly impossible without the help of an experienced family law attorney. By having a lawyer on your side who can help you better understand how New York spousal support works, you can more zealously advocate for fair alimony payments, which in some cases, is no payments at all.

Make a Full Representation of Your Earnings

The best way to ensure you aren’t paying too much alimony is to give a full representation of your earnings. It’s also legally required that you do so. Don’t attempt to hide assets or raises. On the other hand, you should also shine a light on anything that has caused you to earn less money. Admitting you’ve been laid off or your hours have been reduced can be difficult, but it can also be exactly what cuts your alimony payment in half.

Negotiate with Other Assets and Debt

You may be able to avoid paying too much alimony if you have assets and debts you can negotiate with. Because New York is an equitable distribution state, you can barter or “trade” assets and debts with your ex-spouse as you wish until you’re able to reach an agreement on something you’re both willing to sign off on.

For example, say you have a fully paid-off house. You’d rather not pay alimony and you don’t mind downsizing to a smaller residence after your split. In exchange for not paying alimony, you may be able to negotiate that your ex-spouse gets to keep the house. Or, if your ex-spouse has accumulated a lot of debt during the marriage, you can offer to take on a larger portion of responsibility for it in exchange for lower alimony payments each month.

Know How Long Your Alimony Will Last

Spousal support isn’t meant to be truly permanent, with the exception of very rare cases where the lesser earning spouse is not expected to attain independence at any point; for example, if the spouse has become critically disabled. Even when a judge awards “permanent” alimony, it typically only lasts until your ex-spouse remarries or is able to earn enough to financially support themselves. Truthfully, alimony in those cases is only actually permanent when and if that never happens.

Temporary alimony, which is the most common type of spousal support awarded in New York divorces, has an end date that is usually specified in the final divorce decree. Know when this date is and how long your alimony is meant to last. Once your alimony date ends, you are no longer required to make payments.

Request a Modification If Necessary

If circumstances occur that would impact your ability to pay the amount of alimony awarded to your ex-spouse, you may be able to request a modification of spousal support. Reasons that allow you to request a change to your alimony decree include but are not limited to:

  • You are fired, demoted, or are otherwise making significantly less money than you did when your case was originally finalized and can no longer afford to pay your alimony.
  • Your ex-spouse remarries and no longer requires spousal support.
  • Your ex-spouse gets a higher-paying job and is able to support themselves without your alimony payments.
  • You become ill, incapacitated, or disabled and are no longer able to work.

Call Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Today for a Consultation

Are you facing alimony negotiations during your Long Island Divorce? Being ordered to pay spousal support that you can’t afford can be the final straw when it seems as though your entire life is crumbling right before your eyes. Don’t wait to get the legal help you need from an experienced, aggressive Long Island family law firm that has a proven track record protecting clients from paying unfair alimony for too long. Call today for your consultation at 631-923-1910.


Call 631-923-1910 or fill in the form below

Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today. When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

No Cost or Obligation

There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer any questions you may have about spousal support and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

All Fields Are Required

Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York
Google Review of divorce longisland
Janine Keleghan
Janine Keleghan
00:01 20 Nov 22
From the minute my now x-husband and I met with Robert, we both felt comfortable and confident that he and his firm were a great fit for our "gray divorce". Divorce is unsettling but the firm and the confidence, consideration and responsiveness made this very challenging time much easier to navigate. I am grateful for the whole team at Hornberger Verbitsky. Reasonable competent and fair to both my "x" and I. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone needing legal representation. Patty is also the "bomb" she was always kind and patient with me, which was a blessing during this very difficult life changing time.
Darlene Iglio
Darlene Iglio
15:27 30 Jul 22
Robert has been my attorney for 14+ years. Through the years he has taken every call, and responded to every email, even when we were not dealing with an active court matter. Most recently, he, and his amazing team, did everything to see me through a lengthy and draining child support modification. His experience with Divorce, and Family Court, matters makes him extremely knowledgeable; therefore, if he doesn’t feel you can benefit from an action, he will advise you as much. He is not in this business to charge you fees just for the sake of making money. He will listen to you, take your feelings into consideration, and then take the time to explain how the Law works. The Courts do not care about your feelings but he, and his entire firm, genuinely do care about you AND work to obtain the best possible outcome! All the while, truly understanding these matters are very difficult to go through emotionally AND the financial impact they have on you. I highly recommend Robert and his firm… you will not be disappointed.

Successful Divorce Strategies Free eBook
divorce questions answered
Child Support & Spousal Maintenance Tools
Spousal Maintenance Calculator
Child Support Calculator
Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., P.C. respects your right to privacy. We will never sell your information to any third party. Follow this link to read our full privacy policy.