How Many Years Do I Have to be Married to Get Alimony in New York?

Technically, you could be married for one day and still be eligible for alimony (what is called spousal maintenance in New York). This is because the Court can consider several factors in determining whether or not to award alimony. Although, the number of years that you are married is a strong factor, many other factors can lead to alimony.

In reality, you usually have to be married for three or more years to be eligible for alimony. A Court will typically think that a one- or two-year marriage is too short for a spouse to be eligible for alimony. However, as stated above, even a one- or two-year marriage can be eligible for alimony.

In New York, as of 2016, the Courts now use a formula as a guideline to determine how long you should pay alimony.  That formula is represented in the following table:

  Length of Marriage   Duration of Maintenance
  0 – 15 years   15% – 30% of length of marriage
  15 – 20 years   30% – 40% of length of marriage
  More than 20 years   35% – 50% of length of marriage

As you can see, even in a short marriage, a Court can award maintenance for a period of time. It is important to note, that the above table is a guideline and is not a strict formula. Each marriage and each divorce is different. So a Court could be presented with two cases, with the exact same number of years of marriage, yet award different lengths of alimony.

If you have more questions about alimony, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702 or email at The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Do I Need to File for a Legal Separation Before Filing for a Divorce?

In New York State, you do not need to file for a legal separation before a divorce. Although, it is not necessary, some married couples want to first obtain a legal separation before filing for a divorce.

In general terms, the number of legal separations has significantly been reduced in the last few years. The main reason for that is that in the past, many couples chose a legal separation, instead of a divorce, so that they could remain on the other party’s health insurance plan. At least in New York, that reason is now somewhat diminished, as an individual can obtain very good health insurance that is inexpensive and comparable to what they would have had if they stayed married.

There are two ways to obtain a legal separation: (1) Enter into a legally binding legal separation agreement, which then must be entered into the County Clerk’s office; OR (2) get a Judgment of Legal Separation from a Court. The vast majority of legal separations are obtained by a legal separation agreement. It is important to note that just having an agreement is not sufficient, it must be filed with the County Clerk’s Office to be considered a legal separation agreement.

A legal separation does not dissolve the marriage. When a couple files for legal separation, they are still legally married. This is the main difference between a legal separation and a divorce. The other main differences are the effects on health insurance, taxes and potentially retirement assets.

Choosing between a divorce and a legal separation is a personal choice. Some couples want to first have a “trial separation” before they obtain a divorce. Other couples have religious reasons on why they don’t want a divorce. A few couples stay technically married for the children. There is no right or wrong as a legal separation agreement can typically take care of all the financial aspects that a divorce agreement would have.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have years of experience and can help you obtain a legal separation or a divorce.

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What Are The Differences Between A Legal Separation And A Fully Executed Divorce? Video

Straight talk with David Badanes, Esq., a high-rated divorce attorney on Long Island, New York.

Today’s Straight Talk: What are the differences between a legal separation and a fully executed divorce?

If you’re thinking of getting separated versus a divorce, you may want to know what the differences are.

The first difference is, if you’re separated, most likely you can stay on your spouse’s health insurance plan. That may be very important to you while in a divorce, most likely you will not be able to stay on your spouse’s health insurance plan. That is the main difference between getting separated and getting divorced.

Another main difference is while you are separated, you are still technically married. Well, what does it mean? That means you cannot get married to somebody else. You can live with that person but you cannot get married. You are still married while you are legally separated.

There are also many tax differences between being separated and divorce. You should consult with an experienced CPA or an accountant to learn what those exact tax differences are between being separated and divorce.

Those are the main differences between being legally separated and being divorced.

What Are Some Important Issues That Must Be Addressed In A Divorce? Video

Straight talk with David Badanes, Esq., an experienced divorce attorney who has a track record of success and passion in handling hundreds of simple and complex divorce and family law cases.

What Are Some Important Issues That Must Be Addressed In a Divorce or Separation?

If you are getting divorced, and you get a separation agreement or a settlement agreement, what is usually called a stipulation settlement, there are many issues that need to be addressed in it. First of all, if you have children, of course, child custody must be addressed and must be very specific.

The next thing again if you have children is child support and again how much you are going to either pay or get and again it has to be specific talking about not just based child support but also paying for extracurricular, paying for college, paying for health expenses, that has to be addressed. Also, what has to be addressed, is if you are going to have to pay spousal maintenance or what some people called alimony. Again, if you are not going to pay for it, that has to be addressed.

Also, of course, any of your assets or debts, what most people called equitable distribution, your house, your cars, your pensions, any bank accounts, any mutual fund stocks those kind of assets must be addressed. Any debts you may have, credit card debt, student loans, if you have personal loans again that has to be addressed in your stipulation of settlement or your separation agreement.

How A Legal Separation Agreement Can Be Used As A Basis For Your Divorce

sepMany couples decide they first prefer a legal separation instead of a divorce. In those situations, it is important to have an attorney draft a Legal Separation Agreement which will detail the terms and conditions of your separation. If you do not have a legal separation agreement, then although you may consider yourself “separated”, as far as the Courts are concerned, you are not “legally separated.”

A legal separation agreement will provide you protection and security. If you have children, it should contain child custody and child support provisions. The agreement should detail how your assets are divided and how your debts are paid. If you have retirement funds, pensions or other deferred assets, the agreement should also cover how these assets are distributed. The separation agreement can also have terms for spousal support, which is similar to alimony (spousal maintenance), where spousal support is for support while you are separated and not married. There are many other issues the separation agreement will address. Finally, you can also put in provisions on when a spouse can file for divorce (with certain restrictions).

It is important that an attorney draft the legal separation agreement, so that it is valid and enforceable by the courts.

Once you decide to get divorced, the legal separation agreement will become the backbone of the final divorce agreement. For the most part, you should not need a new agreement to be drafted, as the legal separation agreement can serve that purpose. However, your attorney will still need to file certain other documents that are specifically for your divorce.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have drafted numerous separation agreements. If you are seeking a legal separation or to convert your separation into a divorce, then call the Badanes Law Office today. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Garden City with satellite offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at