When a marriage ends, financial support often becomes an important issue for one of the spouses. In New York, spousal support is a legal provision designed to provide economic assistance to a spouse who may be in a vulnerable financial position post-divorce.
You must meet specific criteria to qualify for spousal support. While a valid pre-nuptial agreement is a major factor in determining the amount of alimony a person receives, there are four other key elements that the state considers.
1. Duration of marriage
The duration of your marriage plays a significant role in determining whether you qualify for spousal support. The longer your marriage lasts, the more likely it is that you may be eligible for support. Short-term marriages may not result in spousal support orders. For marriages that end in divorce, the average duration is eight years. A duration below the national average often directly impacts the court’s decision on spousal support.
2. Financial disparities
One of the key factors for eligibility is the financial disparities between you and your spouse. If one spouse has a significantly higher income or greater financial resources than the other, it may increase the likelihood of the court granting spousal support to the other party. The court aims to ensure that the lower-earning spouse can maintain a reasonable standard of living post-divorce.
3. Health and age
The health and age of each spouse can also influence spousal support decisions. If a spouse has health issues or is of an age where finding employment may be more challenging, the court may be more inclined to award spousal support to provide financial stability during this period.
4. Sacrifices for the marriage
If you sacrificed your own career or education to support your spouse’s ambitions or to take care of the household, it can also be a factor in determining eligibility. New York courts recognize the value of these contributions and may consider them when deciding spousal support.
Understanding these factors can help you determine if you may qualify for spousal support in your divorce case.