Family Law Spousal Support

When Does Spousal Support Stop?

When Does Spousal Support Stop-bmfnylaw

Want to know if you can keep receiving or stop paying spousal support? Here’s the answer…

If you are paying spousal support you may eventually find yourself desperate to make it stop, and if you are receiving spousal support you may be desperate for it to continue.  

Here are some basics on how that process works.

What is spousal support?

In New York State, the higher-earning spouse in a divorcing couple can be ordered to make payments to support the other spouse for a period of time.  

This has become less common, as the law has become more accepting of couples divorcing without fault. “Spousal Support” was formally called “Alimony” and it suggests a level of ongoing commitment to an ex-spouse that many professionals consider somewhat inconsistent with no-fault divorce.

Apart from income differences, there are other factors courts are required by law to take into consideration before awarding one spouse to pay spousal support to the other:

  • When a couple has children, in many cases one partner devotes more time in child care and focuses less on their career. In this case, the court can order the other partner to pay spousal support to them.
  • When one partner contributes financially to the other partner’s development, for instance, bear some part of their higher education cost, then they can receive spousal support in case of divorce.
  • When one partner has some physical disability or health concern, then the other partner may be instructed to pay spousal support to them.

Normal spousal support timelines  

In New York State a complex formula based on the income of each spouse as well as duration of their marriage that is used to determine a guideline amount as well as numerous other specified factors.


A judge has to consider the guideline but can deviate. The amount of spousal support chosen can serve to rehabilitate a spouse by offering a homemaker support while finding a job, for example. 

Spousal support can also be more permanent to support a long-married spouse for the rest of his or her life.

Events that cut off spousal support

Spousal support is a stream of income, it can be cut off by any number of events:

  • Death is the most obvious event that would cut off support (but any arrears which may exist at the time or death are not cut off.)  
  • Another common terminating event is remarriage.  This reflects the idea that spousal support is supposed to protect a spouse from being financially devastated by divorce.  Once they are in a new relationship, spousal support is no longer needed. For example, spousal support may be terminated under a “co-habitation” law which exists in New York State.
  • When the level of income that the spousal support recipient changes for the better, then also alimony may be terminated. Spousal support is provided as an aid to the financially weaker partner and when that partner no longer needs that kind of support, spousal support may be terminated
  • The person who is instructed to pay the spousal support may not remain as financially strong as he/she was at the time of divorce. If he/she loses the capability to bear the spousal support expense, then it may be terminated early.

Want more help?

All of this that I’ve just shared with you can be extremely intimidating and overwhelming which is why we offer a FREE Phone Consultation to ask questions and get clear on the things that will have the biggest impact in your case and situation.

The first step is to call (631) 543-3700 or fill in the form below this post and one of our senior partners will contact you as soon as they are available.

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About the author

Attorney Albert Breud

We combine a lengthy track record of trial successes with close, personal client service to clients throughout Long Island.

We limit the cases we take so we have the time we need to get to know our clients and what their goals are.