Also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, alimony is a court-ordered payment made from one spouse to another during or after divorce proceedings. New York recognizes three different types of spousal support to ensure that both partners can maintain the quality of life they shared during the marriage. 

Before requesting alimony, learn more about the criteria for spousal support in New York. 

Temporary spousal maintenance 

The court may order temporary maintenance until the divorce becomes final. Although the judge typically uses a standard calculator to determine a temporary alimony award, he or she also has discretion based on your case’s circumstances. To estimate the temporary maintenance award, the judge will choose the lowest amount from these three models: 

  • Multiply both spouses’ income by 40% and subtract the income of the spouse who receives support. 
  • Subtract 20% of the income of the person receiving support from 30% of the other person’s income. 
  • Subtract 25% of the income of the person who pays support from 20% of the income of the person receiving support. 

Rehabilitative maintenance 

The judge commonly awards this type of maintenance when divorcing spouses have significantly different educational backgrounds, job skills and/or income potential. For example, one partner may have left the workforce to raise young children. Rehabilitative support lasts for a specific time, to allow the recipient to pursue job training or a degree and become self-supporting. 

Permanent spousal maintenance 

Permanent alimony is rare in New York except in cases with a significant income discrepancy between spouses and/or if the marriage lasted for several decades. The judge may also order permanent support when one spouse cannot become financially independent because of mental or physical disabilities. 

In general, the court awards support based on the length of the marriage. Marriages that last longer than 20 years result in support for up to 50% of the duration of the marriage, up to 40% for marriages lasting 15 to 20 years and up to 30% for shorter marriages.