Rochester, New York
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Rochester, NY 14614
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With 34 years of legal victories under his belt and countless satisfied clients behind him, Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney & Counselor at Law comes highly recommended.

How Does the Length of Your Marriage Affect Your Ability to Collect Alimony? October 2, 2019

Rochester, Monroe
How Does the Length of Your Marriage Affect Your Ability to Collect Alimony?, Rochester, New York

When a marriage must be ended, the only solution is hiring a lawyer and pursuing a divorce. Even if your marriage has only been for a few years, you may be wondering how such a short union will affect your ability to pursue spousal support. While each situation differs, there are specific laws that help judges determine whether or not alimony or maintenance will be granted in these cases. Here’s what you should know. 

What Are the Different Types of Alimony in New York? 

Before you can understand how a judge will determine alimony, which is called “Maintenance” in New York, it’s important to know there are two types of Maintenance in New York. Each type serves a different purpose. Your divorce attorney will advise you which type you should seek, or both.

Pendente Lite Maintenance is Temporary Maintenance. It is typically granted while the divorce case is pending. It’s meant to help one spouse meet their financial obligations while the case is pending, and to preserve the status quo. Once a final resolution is reached, Temporary Maintenance ends.

Post-divorce maintenance is a permanent type of support that replaces temporary maintenance. Once your lawyer helps you obtain this type of alimony, it can only be modified or terminated under very specific circumstances. This may include death of either spouse or remarriage. Also, if the spouse receiving support is found to be living with a new partner, and operating as an economic unit, a Court may terminate or modify maintenance, Often, the terms of the party’s Agreement control modification or termination of maintenance. 

It is also important to note all alimony or maintenance is income based, and is based upon a statutory formula.


How Does the Length of Marriage Determine Alimony? 


In obtaining maintenance, there are specific rules courts must follow. The duration of maintenance is based upon specific statutory guidelines. These are not mandatory, but the Court must take them into consideration, along with all the facts and circumstances. Generally, a shorter marriage will result in a shorter period of maintenance, if a court approves maintenance at all.

A marriage of 15 years or less provides that maintenance be paid for a term of 15-30% of that period. For a five-year marriage at a rate of 30%, this means maintenance is paid for no more than 18 months. For a marriage lasting between 15 and 20 years, the duration is 30-40%.

A marriage of 20 years or longer can result in maintenance paid for to 35-50% of the length of the marriage. For example, in a 25-year marriage, the maintenance guideline is a maximum of 12.5 years. Again, these are only guidelines. Maintenance can be ordered for longer or shorter periods, based upon the facts, including receipt of Social Security in longer term marriages. Amounts can also be more or less than the formula amount. The parties can always agree to deviate in a written Agreement.


Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney & Counselor at Law practices family law in the Rochester, NY, area. Additionally, his firm handles DWI and traffic offenses, criminal defense, and bankruptcies, so you can rely on him for many of your needs. Attorney Corletta has been practicing law for nearly 40 years. To set up a consultation, visit the website or call (585) 546-5072.

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