Alimony isn’t designed to be paid forever, even in cases of “permanent” alimony. Over time, the lesser earning spouse should gain the ability to provide for themselves and should no longer need alimony. However, you can’t simply stop making payments. Here’s what you should know about when you can (legally) reduce or eliminate your spousal support obligations in New York.
3 Unique Types of Alimony
There are three different kinds of alimony that New York courts consider in a divorce:
The most common type of alimony is temporary. This is typically only awarded during the divorce proceedings to provide financial relief to the lesser earning spouse. Then, a judge decides if alimony should continue.
Rehabilitative alimony, often called “bridge-the-gap” support, can be awarded in cases where the lesser-earning spouse still has a financial need once the divorce is final. Then, regular alimony payments are made for a duration determined by a judge after considering multiple factors, such as the age and health of both parties, how long the marriage continued, and if the couple share children.
Permanent spousal maintenance is awarded in rare cases where the lesser earning spouse is highly unlikely to achieve an independent state of living. For example, when a spouse becomes disabled and their partner pursues a divorce, the disabled partner is likely to be awarded permanent support for the duration of their life. However, to be eligible for this type of support, the disabled spouse’s medical records must clearly show that they cannot work or gain the ability to work.
When Alimony Legally Stops in New York
Like most other states, spousal support stops if your spouse remarries, dies, or you prove that making alimony payments would put your family into a significant financial hardship. To stop paying alimony legally though, you must do so with the approval of a judge. You’ll have a hearing and a judge will issue an order that revises or stops your alimony payments. Stopping payments without an order could cause you to be held in contempt of court.
Call a Family Law Attorney Today
Were you ordered to pay alimony or spousal support after your divorce? It’s critical that you understand how alimony works and, more importantly, how you can protect your rights and best interests while making payments. Call Family & Divorce Lawyer Mary Katherine Brown today for more information or to schedule your consultation appointment at (718) 878-6886.
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