How Long Does Alimony Last?

Whether you are paying alimony or receiving it, the question on your mind is probably: how long do alimony payments last? To determine this answer, you need to first familiarize yourself with the basic types of alimony available in New York:


Also known as alimony pendente lite, this form of alimony is paid to the spouse during the divorce process and ends once the judge awards a more permanent order. This form of support is typically provided to a spouse in need of financial help during the divorce.


Rehabilitative maintenance is granted to a spouse who needs additional support to become financially independent. The court grants this type of alimony when one spouse requires additional time and education to re-enter the workforce to be able to financially support himself/herself. This is a common occurrence in the event one parent stayed at home to care for the children.


Permanent alimony is awarded to own spouse after the divorce has been finalized. This type of alimony is reserved for instances where:

  • There is a significant discrepancy in the spouses’ incomes
  • The duration of the marriage lasted a long time
  • The other spouse is unable to work or physically ill/injury

When Do Rehabilitative & Permanent Alimony Terminate?

Durational & Nondurational Alimony

In New York, alimony can be durational or nondurational depending on the situations present in your case. Durational alimony denotes rehabilitative maintenance that is available for a set period, usually until the supported spouse can become financial sufficient. Nondurational refers to permanent alimony that will be paid for the entire duration of the supported spouse’s lifetime. This is typical in extreme circumstances where the supported spouse cannot be employed due to an illness or injury.

The courts may consider the following guidelines when determining the duration of post-divorce alimony:

  • Marriages that lasted between 0-15 years

Alimony should last 15-30% of the duration of the marriage.

  • Marriages that lasted more then 15 years up to 20 years

Alimony should last 30-40% of the duration of the marriage.

  • Marriages that lasted more than 20 years

The support order should last between 35-50% of the duration of the marriage.

Nondurational support is permanent and will not terminate unless either spouse dies, the supported spouse remarries, or the supported spouse decides to cohabitate with another partner for an extended period.

When Does Temporary Alimony Terminate?

Temporary alimony terminates once the court awards the final alimony order. As this is dependent on how long the divorce process takes, there is not an exact answer to this question. It is safe to say, the shorter your divorce takes to finalize, the less temporary alimony you may pay/receive. However, if you or your spouse require additional support, rehabilitative support may be awarded.

Consult with an Experienced Attorney from Our Firm

At Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C., our clients are our top priority. As a boutique law firm, we take a unique approach to each case, tailoring our services to best address your specific needs and interests. We have built a reputation around this mentality and been acknowledged and praised for it by multiple major media outlets. If you need support determining alimony in your divorce case, get in touch with our firm to book an appointment today.

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