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The Top 5 Factors That Influence Alimony Decisions in Long Island, NY Courts

by | Jun 4, 2024 | Alimony and Spousal Support, NY

Introduction to Alimony or Spousal Support

Alimony, otherwise known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a payment that one spouse (the higher income earner) makes to the other (the lesser income earner) during or after a divorce to help support them financially. It is usually awarded when one spouse has significantly more income or assets than the other. Here are the top five factors that influence alimony decisions in Long Island, NY courts (although the courts may also consider other factors):

  1. Length of the marriage: Long-term marriages often result in higher alimony payments.
  2. Income Disparity: The difference in income between spouses plays a crucial role in determining alimony amounts.
  3. Standard of Living: The court considers the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage when deciding on alimony.
  4. Contributions to the Marriage: Non-financial contributions, such as child-rearing or supporting the other spouse’s career, are also taken into account.
  5. Health and Age: The health and age of each spouse can impact alimony decisions, especially if one spouse has health issues or is nearing retirement age.
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These are the top five factors are essential to consider when understanding how alimony is determined in court, but courts on Long Island, NY have been known to also consider things such as

  • 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

Types of Alimony on Long Island, NY

Alimony, also known as spousal support, can be awarded in various forms depending on the circumstances of the divorce. Here are the common types of alimony you might come across in court:

  1. Temporary Alimony or Maintenance: This type of alimony is awarded during the divorce proceedings to support the financially dependent spouse until a final decision is made.
  1. Rehabilitative Alimony: Intended to support the dependent spouse until they can become self-sufficient, often by completing education or training programs.
  2. Permanent Alimony: As the name suggests, this type of alimony is paid indefinitely or until specific conditions are met, such as the death of either party or remarriage of the recipient. This is a rare situation on Long Island, NY.
  3. Lump-Sum Alimony: Rather than periodic payments, a one-time payment is made to the dependent spouse, providing a clean break in financial ties.

Understanding the different types of alimony available can help you navigate the complexities of divorce proceedings with regard to spousal maintenance issues.

Factors Considered in Alimony Decisions

Courts take several factors into account when deciding on alimony payments. As discussed above, these factors can include the length of the marriage, the income and assets of each spouse, the age and health of each spouse, the standard of living established during the marriage, and the contributions made by each spouse to the marriage as well as others.

Financial Situation of Spouses

The financial situation of both spouses is a key factor that influences alimony decisions in court. Here are some important points to consider:

  • The judge will assess the income and assets of each spouse.
  • Disparities in income between the spouses can impact the amount of alimony awarded.
  • Assets, such as property and investments, will also be taken into account.
  • Standard of living during the marriage may affect alimony decisions.
  • The financial needs of each spouse post-divorce will be considered to ensure a fair arrangement.

Length of Marriage

The length of your marriage plays a significant role in determining alimony payments. Courts generally consider marriages lasting longer periods to be more eligible for alimony. The longer you’ve been married, the more likely alimony will be awarded. This is because longer marriages often involve more significant financial interdependence between partners.

Contribution of Each Spouse During the Marriage

During a divorce, the court considers how much each spouse contributed during the marriage when deciding on alimony. This contribution includes financial support, homemaking, caregiving duties, and any sacrifices made for the benefit of the family. The courts aim to ensure fairness in the alimony decision by evaluating the efforts and roles taken on by each spouse throughout the marriage.

Future Earning Potential

When courts decide on alimony, they often consider the future earning potential of both parties. Factors such as education, work experience, career advancements, and market trends can all play a part in determining the amount and duration of alimony payments. It’s essential to present a clear picture of your future earning capacity to help inform the court’s decision.

Modification of Alimony Orders

Alimony orders can sometimes be modified if there are significant changes in circumstances. Reasons for changes to alimony or support orders could include things like the loss of a job, an increase or decrease in income, or a serious health issue. However, you cannot simply decide you can’t pay as much and reduce your support payments. Your original order needs to be modified by the court or you could face serious legal consequences. To modify an alimony order, you would need to prove to the court that these changes are substantial enough to warrant a modification. Remember, a court will always prioritize what is fair and reasonable for both parties involved.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Remember, when it comes to alimony, support or maintenance decisions in court, several factors play a crucial role in determining the final outcome. Your income and your spouse’s income, the length of your marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s age and health, and any contributions made to the marriage are all considered by the court. It’s essential to consult with a legal professional to understand how these factors apply to your specific situation and how they may influence the alimony decision in your case.

How to Get Help in Your Alimony Issues on Long Island, NY

The experienced team of divorce lawyers and family law attorneys at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. have been representing Long Islanders like you in alimony, spousal support and spousal maintenance issues for decades. We will protect your rights and assets in all support issues. Contact us at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation to learn how we can help you.


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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York
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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.

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