If you did not work during your marriage or were not the primary breadwinner, then you can be understandably nervous about how you will support yourself after a divorce.
In these situations, alimony, or spousal maintenance, could be available. Below, we explain some broad details on maintenance laws in New York, which can help you better assess your options as you head into the divorce process.
When alimony may be awarded
Spousal support is money that one former spouse pays to the other during and/or after divorce. The courts do not approve these awards in every case, though. They are reserved for cases where one spouse will not be able to support himself or herself after divorce and the other party has the resources to provide for an ex’s reasonable needs.
Alimony could also be available in situations where parties have a valid prenuptial agreement that establishes such support.
How much a person might receive
There is no precise formula for calculating alimony payments; there are at least 20 factors that can affect the amount of support a person might receive. These factors include the length of the marriage, earning capacity of both parties and the age and health of each party. Generally, the harder it would be for a party to support himself or herself, the greater the award may be.
How long the payments may last
Spousal maintenance obligations may continue until one party dies or remarries, or they could terminate on a specific date. The duration of these awards depends on the criteria mentioned above. If there is a reasonable expectation that the receiving party will be able to support himself or herself again, then order may terminate at a date when that is likely to occur. If a person is older or unwell and will likely not reenter the workforce, an alimony order may be in place indefinitely.
Understand, though, that every case is different. If you want to know whether maintenance is an option in your specific situation and how you might pursue it, you can talk to an attorney.