Types of Spousal Support (Alimony) in New York 2024

Alimony is a type of payment that one spouse pays to another throughout divorce proceedings or after a divorce has been finalized. In New York, alimony payments that are made while a couple is divorcing are referred to as spousal support, while payments that are made after a divorce is finalized are known as spousal maintenance. Understanding both types of payments can help to understand the purpose of alimony, which is to provide support for one spouse in order to allow them time to become self-sufficient financially.

Determining the type, duration, and amount that is required in alimony payments is a matter of the circumstances surrounding each case. Here we will explore the types of alimony to empower you throughout the process.

Types of Alimony in New York

There are two types of alimony in New York:

  • Temporary maintenance. This may be referred to as pendente lite maintenance. This type of alimony is often awarded during the divorce process and ceases when the final divorce decree is made by a judge. The award is based on actual spousal need and is set based on predetermined statutory guidelines that help to determine the amount needed.
  • Post-divorce maintenance. This type of alimony is paid after the final divorce decree is made. The payments are determined by the length of the marriage and take into account the income of both spouses. Similarly to temporary maintenance, there are statutory guidelines that help to dictate what baseline support might look like.

If it is decided that alimony should be paid, the court could order payments both on a temporary basis and then as post-divorce maintenance. The award of one does not negate the order of the other.

Calculating Temporary Maintenance

When the court determines that temporary maintenance is to be awarded, they will use a statutory formula that calculates a suggested amount of temporary support. Using the formula, courts can keep consistent with their determinations in order to avoid any discrepancies. However, judges do have the authority to award an amount outside of the guidelines, but they must show that the calculated award may be considered unjust or inappropriate.

The calculation for temporary maintenance considers the following factors:

  • The income of each spouse maxing out the paying spouse’s income at $203,000
  • Whether the spouse that will be paying temporary maintenance will also pay any child support.

The amount of the temporary maintenance award does not have an impact on any post-divorce award that either party is granted. Temporary maintenance payments end when either the divorce is finalized or one spouse dies.

Calculating Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance

Like temporary maintenance, the courts will use a formula to arrive at a constant determination from case to case. However, judges have more discretion in deciding how much maintenance should be awarded as there are more long-term factors to be considered. Additionally, judges want to be sure that payments are just and appropriate. Factors that judges will take into consideration include:

  • The age and health of both spouses
  • What the present or future abilities for earning income look like
  • If there are any educational or training expenses that are required by one party or the other
  • What child support payments awarded may be
  • How marital property was treated by both parties during the marriage
  • Any pre-marriage or pre-divorce separate housing
  • Any acts by either party that impact either spouse’s ability to earn income
  • Availability and cost of benefits such as health insurance
  • Tax consequences that either party could face
  • The standard of living the couple had while married
  • The distribution of marital assets and the income that could be earned from selling that property

These factors, and others, play a role in the final determination of the amount of spousal maintenance one party may be forced to pay the other.


Q: What Are the Different Types of Alimony in NY?

A: There are two types of alimony in New York. The first type is awarded during the divorce process and is known as temporary maintenance. This type of alimony ceases when the final divorce decision is made in court. The second type of alimony is post-divorce spousal maintenance. One does not have an impact on the other, and a spouse could be awarded both.

Q: What Is the Formula for Spousal Support in NY?

A: Post-divorce spousal maintenance is determined by the length of the marriage. The calculation states that if a marriage is between 0 and 15 years, the maintenance could last for 15-30% of the marriage, 15 to 20 years is 30-40% of the time, and more than 20 years could be up to 50% of the time. This is then impacted by other factors that a judge will take into account.

Q: What Is the Spousal Maintenance Cap in NY?

A: The calculation for spousal maintenance is capped at $203,000 to determine the amount that the spouse may need to pay. If there is an additional award over the cap, then it is at the discretion of the court to make the determination. Many factors, including age, health, income capacity, and more, will play a role in that.

Q: How Many Years Do You Have To Be Married To Get Alimony in New York, NY?

A: New York does not have a specific amount of time that a couple must be married before either spouse qualifies for spousal maintenance. The formula to calculate spousal maintenance allows for less than a year of marriage; however, the odds of earning spousal maintenance are minimal in that time. The longer a couple is married, the more likely spousal maintenance will be awarded.

New York Alimony Attorneys

If you are facing a divorce or already have a spousal maintenance agreement in place, you may have questions about what you may qualify for, what you may need to pay, or how to modify current payments. No matter what questions you have, the attorneys at the Trotto Law Firm, P.C. are available and ready to answer your questions. Contact our offices today and let our attorneys help you make sense of New York alimony.

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