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How long might a spousal support order last?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Divorce

In many New York family law cases, spousal support is a topic for dispute.

The amount of a spousal support order is based on factors such as the standard of living during the marriage, the income of the parties and their needs.

Another part of the determination is its duration.

The duration of spousal support hinges on several factors

The court can base its decision on how long the support must be paid after looking at how long the couple was married. For shorter marriages of up to 15 years, the payments will be made for 15% to 30% of that time.

Marriages that lasted from 15 to 20 years will generally mean the payments will last for 30% to 40% of the length of the marriage. Marriages that lasted for more than 20 years will warrant spousal support for 35% to 50% of that time.

This is the advisory schedule. The court does not necessarily need to follow it. Just as it will analyze the circumstances when it comes to how much is paid, it will also do so with the duration. That includes the parties’ age and health; their income-earning capacity; how long it will take to gain education and training to self-support; the amount of marital property; if there are children that need to be cared for; taxes; and other issues the court believes are relevant.

Spousal support duration can be a sticking point

Disputes about spousal support are not unusual in a family law case. The income, assets, education and need to prepare will come to the forefront. It is critical to know what will be needed and to set about in achieving a reasonable outcome.

In some instances, this can be done through negotiation. In others, it is not possible to come to an agreement and the case will need to go to court. Understanding what will happen with the duration of the spousal support order is essential to anyone, but it is particularly important for people who grew accustomed to having significant assets and will need to adapt. No matter the situation, people need to be prepared.