If you need to consult with an attorney or would like more information on alimony, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral & Information Service.
From the date a husband and wife separate, and until the date a divorce is finalized and all divorce litigation has been resolved (including all appeals), the financially independent spouse may be required to support the dependent spouse. This support is not called alimony. Rather, it is properly called either spousal support or alimony pendente lite, also known as APL. Spousal support may be granted to the financially dependent spouse, even where neither party has filed for divorce, if a spouse is found to be entitled to support under the law. APL, on the other hand, may only be awarded during the pendency of a divorce action and is designed to assist the dependent spouse in maintaining him or herself during that period of litigation. Spousal support and APL are calculated based upon a formula.
Alimony is paid after a divorce decree has been entered and all divorce litigation has been resolved. It is important to remember that alimony is not granted in every divorce, and it is not calculated based upon a formula. The Court will make a case by case analysis and will grant alimony only in situations where the Court believes that alimony is necessary after equitably dividing the marital estate.
In determining whether alimony is necessary, and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the Court shall consider all relevant factors including:
1. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
2. The ages, and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
3. The sources of income of both parties including but not limited to medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
4. The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
5. The duration of the marriage.
6. The contribution of one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
7. The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
8. The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
9. The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
10. The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
11. The property brought into the marriage by either party.
12. The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
13. The relative needs of the parties.
14. The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage; however, the marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony.
15. The federal, state and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
16. Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed by equitable distribution, to provide for the parties reasonable needs.
17. Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self support through appropriate employment.
Information is current as of 2/2019.