So, you have been a stay-at-home parent or homemaker for much of your marriage. You relied on your spouse to make money, while you handled the myriad responsibilities of maintaining a household. Now, it seems as though your marriage is at an end, and you find yourself feeling rather frightened about your economic prospects.
With several years or even decades away from the employment market, you may not have modern employment skills or connections that can help you get a job. The lack of resources and the diminished earning potential associated with being a non-working spouse is one of the reasons why New York does still allow people to request alimony, also known as spousal support.
There is no direct and straightforward answer to the questions of whether you will receive alimony or how much your ex will pay. However, you can familiarize yourself with some of the standard considerations for alimony.
Did you support your spouse during their education or early career?
Even if your spouse became the primary wage-earner later on, it is entirely possible that you spent months or even years financially and socially supporting your spouse while they finished their education. Maybe you paid for school or just worked a mediocre job to cover rent and other expenses.
If you supported your spouse and provided for them financially earlier in the relationship, the courts may order restitutional support. This kind of support involves your ex paying you back for the time and money you invested in their personal growth and success.
Standard spousal support is usually for helping you get on your feet
In some cases, the courts may order ongoing support for several years. Typically, the intention in doing this is to allow you time to develop the skills or obtain the education you need to pursue a career on your own. That may mean that the courts only order support for a certain amount of time. This form of spousal support gets called rehabilitative support.
However, when older couples divorce, in what is known as gray divorce, it may still be possible that the courts will order permanent spousal support as a way of fairly splitting the retirement or pension that your spouse has accumulated. The courts will acknowledge that factors ranging from health and earning potential to age will impact someone's ability to support themselves.
Many factors, ranging from the custody of your children to the way that the courts divide your assets will impact the amount and duration of the alimony awarded in your divorce. Sitting down to talk with an experienced New York divorce attorney familiar with high-asset divorce cases can help you figure out what is reasonable and likely in your situation.