New York Permanent Alimony
Alimony is money that one spouse (the “supporting spouse”) pays to the other spouse (the “dependant spouse’) either as a lump sum or in a series of weekly or monthly payments pursuant to a divorce order. When a couple divorces either spouse can request the judge to order alimony—also referred to as spousal support or maintenance. While some people think that during a divorce proceeding alimony and child support are interchangeable, they are not. The purpose of alimony is for the supporting spouse to help the dependent spouse get back on stable financial footing while child support payments are contributions to the child’s needs. Alimony is generally intended to be temporary or “durational.” There are, however, instances in which alimony is permanent. In making a determination on whether or not to award support, how much to award, and whether the award should be durational or permanent, New York family law requires that the court consider a number of different factors. If you are contemplating filing for divorce it is important that you contact an experienced New York permanent alimony lawyer who will work closely with you to help ensure that any support order issued is consistent with New York Domestic Relations law as well as represent you in child custody matters as well.Under what circumstances is permanent alimony ordered?
Because the purpose of alimony is to give the dependent spouse financial assistance while he or she looks for a job, learns a trade, or takes other steps to become financially stable and independent, alimony is typically “durational.” This means alimony is usually awarded for a fixed period of time. The period of time is usually no more than 50% of the length of the marriage.
Permanent or “nondurational” support is rare and is typically only ordered if:
- The dependent spouse is very old.
- The dependent spouse is ill.
- The dependent spouse has little chance of being able to financially support him or herself.
If alimony is permanent, theoretically it will end only upon the death of the dependent spouse. However, there are other circumstances that will cause permanent alimony to end.
- The supporting spouse passes away.
- The dependent spouse gets married.
- The dependent spouse cohabitates with another person. Living with another person as a roommate is not enough to end alimony. The dependent spouse must live with the other person as a couple.
- The supporting spouse petitions the court for an end to alimony payments or have the payments reduced because his or her circumstances have changed. For example, if the supporting spouse’s income is significantly reduced for an extended period, or if the supporting spouse is unable to work because health reasons, the court may determine that it is appropriate to reduce or eliminate alimony payments.
Just because a supporting spouse’s finances have changed does not necessarily mean that a judge will reduced or end permanent alimony. For example, if a supporting spouse files for bankruptcy or quits his or her job, there is a good chance that a judge will not modify a permanent order of support.Will a prenuptial agreement affect my ability to get permanent 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- permanent or otherwise.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
For many people the end of a marriage means an end to financial support. 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 and the factors that courts consider when making decisions about alimony. 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.