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New York Durational Alimony

When a couple divorces, under New York Domestic Relations Law either party can request that the other party pay alimony- also referred to as spousal maintenance. The purpose of alimony is for the party who has the greater income to provide financially to the spouse who has less of an income. In general alimony is not meant to be permanent. In most cases an order for spousal maintenance is “durational” and only paid for a fixed period of time. Under New York divorce law there are a number of factors that the court will consider in determining whether or not a party is entitled to alimony, the duration of payments, and the amount of the payments. If you are contemplating filing for divorce, or if your spouse filed for divorce, it is important that you contact an experienced New York durational alimony lawyer who will explain to you your legal options and who will ensure that any support order issued is consistent with your financial situation, and who will also represent you in other aspects of your case such as child custody disputes as well as issues related to child support.

What is the difference between durational alimony and nondurational alimony?

Alimony is cash payments made from one former spouse (the “supporting spouse”) to the other former spouse (the “dependent spouse”). Alimony is paid either in a lump sum or in weekly or monthly payments. While traditionally the husband was the one who paid alimony, nowadays the determination is based on the comparative gross incomes of the spouses. Typically the spouse that makes more money will end up being the supporting spouse regardless of whether that person is the husband or wife.

If the supporting spouse is required to pay the dependent spouse alimony for a fixed period of time, the alimony is durational. On the other hand, if the alimony is permanent—meaning for the lifetime of the dependent spouse, the alimony is nondurational.

Because one of the purposes of alimony or spousal maintenance is to help the dependent spouse transition to a new career, get education or training, or take other steps to become self-sufficient, alimony is usually durational. However, in cases where the marriage was quite long, the dependent spouse is quite old, the dependent spouse is ill, or the dependent spouse is unlikely to be able to earn a living, a judge may order nondurational support. However, that is not the norm.

When the support is durational, how long does it typically last?

Durational support can last from a few months to a number of years. Traditionally, length of durational support does not exceed one-half the length of the marriage and is often quite a bit less than that. A supporting spouse can petition the court to lower the amount of support if his or her circumstances change. For example, if the supporting spouse loses his or her job or becomes ill, the judge may agree to lower or discontinue support payments.

In the case of nondurational support, payment will end if the dependent spouse remarries, cohabitates, or dies.

Will a prenuptial agreement affect my ability to get durational alimony?

If a pre- or post-nuptial agreement is in place that addresses the issue of alimony, in the absence of fraud or some other illegality, the agreement is binding. Many such agreements address support. In some cases a pre- or postnuptial agreement will state that neither party will be entitled to support. In other cases it may provide that the dependent party will receive support for a stated number of years. Other such agreements state the amount of support to which the dependent spouse will be entitled should the marriage dissolve.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

For many people the end of a marriage means the end of emotional support as well as financial support. Without the financial help of the supporting spouse the dependent may fall into serious financial distress. Even though the law provides guidelines related who is entitled to alimony, how much and for how long, these rules are open to interpretation. Thus, it is important that you are represented by someone who is familiar with New York divorce law. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully representing clients New York Supreme Court and Family Court who are seeking spousal support or maintenance. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

Client Reviews
My ex-husband hadn't paid child support or the mortgage on the house as he was supposed to. Stephen Bilkis and his team of lawyers were amazing. They stopped the foreclosure on the house, Got a judgment against him and most importantly kept me and my children in the house. Can't say enough good things about him in the firm their compassion hard work and dedication were exceptional. I.G.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
Stephen has handled numerous estate matters, criminal matters and family court matters effectively and with a goal-oriented approach. He gets great results and is a results-oriented attorney. Dustin