When Does Spousal Maintenance End?

How Long Does Alimony Last in NY?

If you’re headed toward a high-asset divorce, there is a good chance that spousal support or spousal maintenance, or both, will be ordered in your case. In New York, alimony is called “spousal support” and “spousal maintenance.” Spousal support is paid to a spouse while a couple is still married, for example, while a divorce is pending in the court. Spousal maintenance is the money a higher-earning spouse pays to a lower-earning spouse after the divorce.

If you and your spouse agree on a spousal maintenance as a part of your divorce case, or if a judge orders it, you may be wondering, “When does spousal maintenance end?” and this is a valid question that just about all of our clients whose cases involve maintenance ask.

How Long Maintenance Lasts After a NY Divorce

In January of 2016, a new law went into effect setting guidelines on the amounts and duration of spousal maintenance after a New York divorce. While judges utilize these guidelines, they do have the discretion to deviate from the guidelines and can establish different amounts if they see fit.

A new law was passed in 2015 stating that maintenance amounts would be determined by a mathematical formula based on each spouse’s income. To learn more, click here to visit the New York Courts’ website and to see the calculator.

Nowadays, a New York judge can set a limit on how long someone will have to pay spousal maintenance. In January of 2016, the state adopted a formula for this. This is a breakdown of how that formula generally works:

  • For marriages that lasted up to 15 years, maintenance can last between 15% and 30% of the length of the marriage.
  • For marriages that lasted 15 to 20 years, maintenance can last between 30% and 40% of the length of the marriage.
  • For marriages that lasted longer than 20 years, maintenance can last between 35% and 50% of the length of the couple’s marriage.

There are a few other scenarios where maintenance may terminate early. Maintenance ends if either spouse dies, and if the receiving spouse remarries. In some situations, maintenance can end if the receiving spouse moves in with a romantic partner full-time and the new partner financially supports the receiving spouse.

Next: Unique Challenges with a High-Asset Divorce

Do you have more questions about spousal support, maintenance, or another divorce matter in Dutchess, Orange, or Putnam County? If so, contact us today.

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