Queens Permanent Alimony
There is a stereotype of alimony that it lasts forever or until the payee spouse remarries or one of the parties dies. That can be the case, but it’s not the norm, though it is presented as such in the movies and on TV. Alimony is usually not permanent in Queens or anywhere in the state of New York. In most cases, courts award alimony of a set duration, but there are exceptions where permanent alimony is awarded. If you are seeking permanent alimony or if you are opposing it, it’s important that you speak with a good Queens alimony lawyer. They can explain your options and the probability of how a judge will make a determination.
Duration of spousal maintenance, which is what it’s called in the New York statutes, is tied to a number of things, but one of the most important is the length of the marriage. In fact, judges are provided with an advisory schedule they may or may not use as a first step in deciding the duration of the alimony. The schedule is very simple. For up to 15 years of marriage, it recommends that the duration of alimony should be 15% to 30% of the length of the marriage. For 15 to 20 years, the recommendation is 30% to 40% of the length of the marriage. For over 20 years, the recommendation is 35% to 50%. This is framed in the language of durational alimony, that is, alimony that lasts for a set duration. However, the judge will not consider only the length of the marriage. The judge will consider an entire series of factors that are enumerated in Domestic Relations Law 236B.
Though the advisory schedule gives judges a good place to begin, they need not use it, and even if they do, they need to think about a lot of other things set forth in the law before deciding alimony duration. Because judges have such latitude, it is particularly important that an experienced Queens family law attorney present your case. When judges decide to award permanent alimony, it generally boils down to three factors beyond the length of the marriage. These are:
- Age: Consider a woman (it could be a man, but normally the payee is a woman) who has been married 40 years, is 65 years old and has spent her entire adult life taking care of the home and children, entertaining her husband’s business partners and supporting his career. It is unlikely that a person of advanced age and this background is going to find work with which they can support themselves. In a case such as this, a court may award permanent alimony. Of course, the judge must decide that alimony will be awarded before considering duration. In deciding whether alimony should be awarded, the court will also look at a number of things including income producing property the payee may receive in the marital property division. This could anything from stocks to commercial real estate. Should the payer be retired with no income, that circumstance would, of course, also impact a decision about granting alimony. But where alimony is to be granted, and the payee is of such an age that it would be extremely difficult for them to reenter the workforce, the judge may find it proper to award permanent alimony. Your Queens family law lawyer can advise you of your eligibility for permanent alimony.
- Illness: If a payee is ill with a malady that is likely to be ongoing and inhibit their ability to work, a court may award them permanent alimony even if they are not old. For example, a painter who has gone blind is not going to be able to continue to work in that field. The payer could suggest retraining in some other field, and leave it to the judge whether or not the judge feels that is feasible given the disability and the specific situation.
- Inability to financially support themselves: If a court feels the payee spouse will not be able to support themselves, permanent alimony may be awarded. Of course, this could be caused by age and illness, which have already been mentioned, but the inability could be for any reason.
Courts have generally moved away from granting alimony for long durations, but there are cases where a court will feel that it is just to award permanent alimony. You will want to consult with a good Queens permanent alimony lawyer, who can strongly present your evidence to a judge, whether or not you are seeking permanent alimony or opposing it. The attorneys at Stephen Bilkis and Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients New York Supreme Court and Family Court who are seeking alimony. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your concerns related to your family law case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.