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How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Spousal Support?

If you are in the process of getting a divorce and have a limited income, alimony may be on your mind. Alimony, also known as spousal support, gives money to the spouse who earns less money so he or she can get back on their feet. This money helps spouses get the training and skills they need to live independently post-divorce.

Alimony laws are complicated. Each state has different laws regarding how much spousal support a spouse can receive and for how long.

In New York, there are three types of alimony. Permanent alimony pays for food, clothing, housing and other needs. Restitutional alimony repays a spouse for schooling and training. Rehabilitative alimony is the most common form of alimony and is used to help a spouse develop or refresh job skills so he or she can become self-sufficient.

Who Pays Alimony?

Alimony is used to help a spouse with fewer resources live the same lifestyle that he or she enjoyed while married. This means that the higher wage earner is typically the one who will pay alimony to the other spouse. Gender is not a factor, salary is the determining factor in alimony payments.

Alimony is not an element of every divorce, though. The goal of alimony is to help an underemployed spouse become self-supporting. Therefore, if both spouses work and make the same amount of money and there are no children to support, alimony may not come into play.

How Much Alimony Will I Receive?

Spousal support payment amounts in New York are based on a formula. You can find out how much alimony you can expect to receive by using this calculator.

In New York, alimony does not last forever unless you qualify for permanent alimony. A spouse asking for this type of alimony must prove his or her need. Otherwise, the amount of time you will receive it is based on the length of your marriage. New worksheets and guidelines came into play in 2015.

For marriages lasting up to 15 years, payments can last for up to 30 percent of the length of the marriage, or for as long as 4.5 years. If your marriage lasted 15-20 years, then alimony may last up to 40 percent of the marriage, or eight years. For marriages lasting beyond 20 years, a spouse could pay alimony for 50 percent of the length of time. Therefore, alimony could last for 10, 15 or 20 years or even longer.

Also, if either spouse dies, or if the spouse receiving alimony remarries, the alimony payments will end.

Work with a Spousal Support Lawyer in Brooklyn

Spousal support laws are complicated. If you have been a stay at home parent or have earned less money than your spouse over the course of the marriage, you may be entitled to receive spousal support. Brooklyn family law attorney Theodore Alatsas ESQ can help you understand what forms of compensation you are entitled to receive in a divorce. Contact him to schedule a free consultation. Call his office at (718) 233-2903.