Will I have to pay alimony after my New York divorce?

It is the hot-button issue on the mind of every person going through a divorce: Will I have to pay spousal maintenance and child support? These major financial concerns are definitely understandable, especially for those with high asset divorces ahead. Family law in New York provides alimony rules for those spouses who need additional monetary support. Whether you pay spousal support depends upon your individual financial situation and that of your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

In our state, you may be required to pay alimony after a divorce if your ex is on different financial footing than you are. Spousal maintenance is generally ordered for a limited time by the New York courts; that is, lifetime alimony is increasingly becoming a thing of the past. In general, those who receive alimony actually need the money in order to get back on their feet.

For alimony to be awarded, the person requesting the aid must demonstrate an actual need for the financial compensation. Further, your ex-spouse must demonstrate the ability to pay for these provisions. There is little logic in impoverishing one party simply to benefit the other; the point of a divorce is to guarantee at least the resemblance of equitable distribution.

Spouses who are still living with those they are divorcing may be able to receive temporary spousal support while the case proceeds. Divorces often prompt couples to "freeze" many of their joint accounts, which can leave one partner without the money to purchase food, gas or electricity. The nature of the spousal support orders that are handed down by a New York family court can differ from case to case. Calculator tools are available for estimating your likelihood of having to pay alimony in a contested divorce case, but a legal team may provide even more detailed information about your spousal support situation.

Source: NewYorkCourts.gov, "Divorce Information & Frequently Asked Questions," Aug. 12, 2014

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