Are There Benefits to Staying Married for 10 years in NY?

If you are nearing the 10-year mark in your marriage and contemplating divorce, there are a few reasons you might want to hold out just a little longer.

Social security and spousal maintenance increase once a marriage lasts at least 10 years.

When a marriage lasts for at least 10 years, benefits are available that are not found in shorter unions. That said, those benefits are outweighed by the costs in some marriages. For example, no one should stay in an abusive relationship. Instead, contact us to help protect you through restraining orders as you file for divorce in New York.

Marriage Length Affects Alimony/Spousal Maintenance

New York law provides three types of spousal support. Temporary spousal support is awarded if one spouse needs financial assistance during the divorce process.

The two post-divorce supports – rehabilitative maintenance and permanent maintenance – are tied in part to the length of the marriage.

Rehabilitative Spousal Maintenance

A judge can award rehabilitative maintenance to help a lesser-earning spouse make ends meet while they work toward becoming self-sufficient. The award specifies how the person will accomplish this. Going back to school or receiving training are two avenues often cited in rehabilitative maintenance.

How long someone receives rehabilitative spousal maintenance is directly impacted by the length of the marriage. A qualifying spouse will receive a longer maintenance window after 10 years together than they would if their marriage lasted less time.

Support in a marriage lasting 15 years or less can last between 15% and 30% of the length of the marriage. A 10-year marriage is potentially closer to the 30% end of that range.

Spousal maintenance duration for a marriage lasting 15 to 20 years is 30-40%. Marriages lasting at least 20 years could receive maintenance for a duration equaling between 35% and 50%.

Permanent Spousal Maintenance

The word “permanent” is misleading as this support might not last in perpetuity. The length of the marriage is important. Typically, only long-term marriages – those lasting at least 10 years – qualify for permanent spousal maintenance. The older the spouse, the greater their inability to support themselves, and the more ill or disabled they are all impact how much alimony they will receive and for how long they will receive it.

Marriage Length Impacts Social Security Benefits

You might be entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits based on your ex’s work record if your marriage lasted at least 10 years. If the benefit based on your work record is more than your ex’s benefit, then you will not be eligible. Social security pays only the highest benefit, not both.

Other qualifying factors to receive a social security benefit through a former spouse include the following:

  • You have not remarried.
  • You and your ex-spouse are age 62 or older.
  • Your divorce was finalized at least two years before or your ex is already claiming retirement benefits.

A marriage lasting at least a decade can also qualify you to receive survivor benefits through the Social Security Administration. A divorced spouse of a worker who dies can get benefits the same as a widow or widower. Benefits paid to you as a surviving divorced spouse won't affect the benefit amount for other survivors getting benefits on the worker's record.

Military marriages lasting 10 or more years also have retirement benefits. If you were married for 10 or more years while they were on active duty, you will qualify for direct enforcement. A portion of retirement pay will be paid directly to you by the military finance office.

Understand Your Rights Before Filing for Divorce

At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, we recommend that you talk to one of our experienced attorneys when you believe your marriage is heading for divorce. By getting out in front of any divorce action, we can best position you to maximize your divorce settlement and the potential for retirement and other benefits in the future.

Learn more in a confidential consultation. Schedule by calling (845) 605-4330 or completing our online form.

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