When it comes to divorce, one of the most important legal concepts to fully understand is alimony. Alimony is what helps ex-spouses get by financially after a divorce, but there are many factors that go into the monetary amount of alimony in NY and how long alimony payments continue.

Here are the top frequently asked questions about alimony to help you through a divorce settlement with the guidance of an experienced New York divorce lawyer.

Alimony Definition

A simple alimony definition is monetary support that is paid by one ex-spouse to the other ex-spouse after a marriage has ended legally. Alimony often comes in the form of a monthly payment, but it can be awarded as a lump sum. The purpose of alimony is to reduce the economic burden on one spouse after a divorce leaves behind a financial imbalance.

Other Frequently Used Names for Alimony in NY

The concept of alimony also goes by other common names, such as spousal support or maintenance payment. These terms are often used interchangeably in New York.

Statistics on Winning Alimony Cases

Back in the 1960s, alimony was awarded in about one out of every four divorce cases. However, the likelihood of receiving spousal support has decreased dramatically since then to only about one in ten divorce cases today because of employment shifts.

What’s interesting though about modern alimony is that an increasing percentage of men (about three percent, up from 0.5 percent) are being award spousal support payments because of women who are now the prime breadwinners in families.

Monetary Amounts for Spousal Support

The alimony amount is different in each divorce case because the judge must consider what each ex-spouse can reasonably earn, what each spouse’s future expenses will be, and what it would take for each spouse to continue a lifestyle similar to what they had before the divorce.

Judges do not often leave a person with less than 40 percent of his or her income after making alimony and child support payments. Alimony creates approximately $90 billion in payments each year, and payments typically range anywhere from $5,000 to $175,000 per year.

Alimony in NY vs. Other States

The legal provisions of alimony vary from state to state, and some are more alimony-friendly than others. New York has been somewhat slow in reforming old alimony laws and didn’t legalize no-fault divorces until 2010. This means that New Yorkers tend to see more alimony payments than some other states across the country.

Alimony vs. Division of Marital Property

It’s also important to make a distinction between alimony and the division of marital property because these are separate issues. While alimony provides money based upon income differences between a supporting and dependent spouse, division of marital property involves the court deciding how to distribute assets that cannot be agreed upon.

New York is an equitable division state, which means that property is divided in a fair way based upon how each spouse contributed to the marriage and other factors. For disputed pieces of property, the court determines whether these things are separate or shared property, a process that is conducted separately from periodic or lump sum spousal maintenance payments.

Finding a Great New York Divorce Lawyer for Alimony

If the need for spousal support is relevant to your case, then you need a New York divorce lawyer on your side to secure the alimony you’re entitled to or ensure that excessive alimony isn’t taken from you. Alatsas Law Firm has over 20 years of experience with complex divorce cases and will see your case through from start to finish.

Contact our Brooklyn office today via online form or by phone at 718-233-2903 to arrange your consultation.

Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection
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