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Woodmere, NY 11598

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What is the difference between alimony and spousal support?

Understanding the difference between alimony and spousal support is important when you’re going through divorce in New York. A divorce lawyer can explain the differences and help you to decide which works best for your situation. Your divorce attorney should be a source of information and support for you and your partner during this difficult time.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support is money that one spouse must pay the other for financial support after a separation or divorce. It is often called maintenance or alimony. Spousal support is usually paid monthly, but can also be paid in one lump sum.

A spouse may have to pay spousal support in order to compensate the spouse who sacrificed their ability to earn income while married, for the ongoing care of children over and beyond a child support obligation, or to help a spouse in financial need from the breakdown of the marriage. Spouses who receive this support have the obligation to become self-supporting when possible.

How long will spousal support be paid?

Support will be paid based on the time that spouses lived together or their ages at the time of separation. Spousal support may be paid for a limited time or for the rest of someone’s life. This will vary from person to person. The only time someone can stop paying spousal support is if the order was changed by the court, you and your former spouse agree to the change, or if the conditions for stopping payment are met.

Call to Schedule a Consultation With a New York Divorce Attorney Today

If you’re going through divorce and want to discuss spousal support, our legal team can help. The legal team at the law offices of Rubinstein & Associates PLLC can assist you in determining when spousal support applies to your divorce in New York. We serve the areas of Woodmere, Long Island, Lynbrook, Hewlett, Rockville Center, Cedarhurst and surrounding Nassau County communities. To learn more about divorce law, visit our website at rubesq.com or call us to schedule a consultation at 516-268-7077  and let us help you defend your legal rights.

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Rubinstein Law Firm

The Rubinstein Law Firm proudly serves all of New York for divorce and other state matters and the whole country on intellectual property related matters.


  • What grounds do I need to file for divorce?
    • New York is a no-fault jurisdiction which means the most commonly cited cause is IRRETRIEVABLE BREAKDOWN IN RELATIONSHIP. So, for example, if your spouse had adultery, it is not really relevant to the actual divorce grounds.
  • Do I file a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce?
    • Uncontested means both parties agree to sign a settlement outside of court and are relatively close in terms of what they want in the terms.
  • How much does the divorce process cost?
    • Uncontested divorces are considerably cheaper, the range is between $1,000-$3,000 depending on complexity. For a contested divorce, it will depend on how willing the spouses are to work together, if so, it can cost as little as $7,000 but if there is excessive fighting the divorce can last years and the sky is the limit.
  • How long before I am officially divorced?
    • Fortunately, NY is not a state that requires a separation period. So as long as you and your spouse have been married for at least 6 months and are an NY resident, you can begin the process immediately. If the divorce is not contested it can be completed in as fast as two months and may take as long as eight months. If the divorce is contested and the parties find it challenging to agree, divorce can go on for many years.

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