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How Long Does Maintenance Last?


In New York, spouses are expected to support each other financially. When a couple separates but is still married and one party makes payments to the other, it is known as spousal support. During and after a divorce, though, one party may be ordered to pay maintenance, more commonly known as alimony. Payers often wonder how long they will have to make payments, while recipients often question how long they will continue to receive them. Below, our Suffolk County spousal support attorney explains how long maintenance may last.

Types of Maintenance in New York

In Suffolk County, as throughout the rest of New York, there are three types of alimony. These are as follows:

  • Temporary: Also called alimony pendente lite, temporary alimony is paid to one party during divorce proceedings and it ends as soon as the case is over, although a judge may issue a permanent order at that point. Temporary alimony ensures that each party can afford the cost of divorce.
  • Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony is awarded when one spouse needs time to become financially independent. Rehabilitative alimony can allow a lower-earning party to find gainful employment or obtain training before they reenter the workforce. Rehabilitative alimony is common when one spouse stayed home to raise the children.
  • Permanent: Permanent alimony is awarded in some situations after a divorce has been finalized. Permanent alimony is usually reserved for situations that include a disability or illness.

When Do Rehabilitative and Permanent Alimony End?

Alimony in New York is considered durational or non-durational. Durational alimony refers to maintenance that is paid for a certain period of time. Typically, durational alimony is supposed to be paid until the recipient can become self-sufficient.

Non-durational alimony refers to maintenance that is paid for the recipient’s entire life. Non-durational alimony is typically only awarded when the recipient cannot work due to an illness or injury. Non-durational alimony is only terminated when either party passes away or the recipient remarries or cohabitates with another romantic partner for an extended period of time.

The court will use guidelines when determining the duration of alimony. These are as follows:

  • Marriages that last between 0 and 15 years: Support should be paid for 15 to 30 percent of the length of the marriage.
  • Marriages that last between 15 and 20 years: Support will usually be provided for 30 to 40 percent of the duration of the marriage.
  • Marriages that were longer than 20 years: Support should last between 35 and 50 percent of the length of the marriage.

Our Spousal Support Attorney in Suffolk County Can Help with Your Case

At the Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan, P.C., our Suffolk County spousal support attorney can advise on the facts of your case and help you obtain the support you need, or defend against an unfair demand for it. Call us now at 631-499-0606 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.



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