Does New York Still Have Lifetime Alimony?


New York State recently reformed many aspects of its Domestic Relations Law, including rules for permanent alimony. The new law creates an advisory schedule for the duration of permanent alimony based on the length of the marriage:

  • From 0 up to and including 15 years — Alimony may last anywhere from 15 percent to 30 percent of the marriage’s length.
  • More than 15 up to and including 20 years — Alimony may last anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the marriage’s length.
  • More than 20 years — Alimony may last anywhere from 35 to 50 percent of the marriage’s length.

The court is not required to follow this schedule and may consider other factors, listed elsewhere in the law, as the bases for deciding the alimony amount. A judge who declines to use the schedule must present a written decision citing the factors considered. When setting the duration of alimony, the court must also consider the impact that retirement might have on the available assets and benefits. Alimony of any duration terminates upon the passing of one of the spouses.

The new law seems to favor very short terms of spousal maintenance for marriages of short duration, while setting a maximum recommended term of 10 years. Since the law is new, it’s impossible to say how heavily judges will rely on the new schedule. However, the law does leave open the possibility of lifetime alimony in cases the court finds appropriate.

If you are a dependent spouse, Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., provides aggressive representation for alimony disputes. Trust Long Island’s largest and busiest divorce and family law firm to deliver the best possible results.

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