How long does spousal maintenance last?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2020 | Family Law | 0 comments

Divorce can have a far-reaching impact on your life. Your family life will look different, you might move to a new home and your household may transition from dual-income to single-income in a relatively short period of time. Because this change in finances can often leave divorcing spouses without the funds they need—especially if they have taken time away from the workplace to support their family—the court may grant spousal maintenance.

Whether you need spousal maintenance to meet your family’s needs or you have concerns about how these payments will impact your bank account, wondering how long these payments will last after divorce is common.

What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance, sometimes called alimony, is court-ordered financial support meant to create a fair solution for a spouse with lower income during or after their divorce.

How long can support payments last?

The court will usually order a shorter-term maintenance payment for shorter marriages, while maintenance may be granted for years or even decades after a longer marriage. While the judge in a divorce case ultimately decides the duration of spousal maintenance payments, the law provides guidelines based on the length of a marriage. These guidelines include:

  • Marriages of up to 15 years: Maintenance will last for 15% to 30% of the length of the marriage.
  • Marriages of between 15 and 20 years: Maintenance will last for 30% to 40% of the length of the marriage.
  • Marriages of more than 20 years: Maintenance will last for 35% to 50% of the length of the marriage.

Maintenance can stop before the end of this duration, however. Payments will also end if the person receiving maintenance remarries or if either spouse passes away.

The court may also require health insurance coverage

Many New Yorkers rely on their spouses for health insurance, and this can put them in a precarious situation after a divorce. Because former spouses cannot usually remain on the family policy, the court may order that the spouse who previously provided insurance pay for more expensive COBRA coverage for up to 18 months.

If you wonder whether alimony will have an impact on your finances after your divorce, speak to an experienced family law attorney. They can help you navigate New York law and create a fair solution that protects your rights and ensures that your needs are met.