What are the grounds for alimony denial in New York?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2024 | Alimony

If you are going through a divorce, the question of alimony (spousal support) is crucial to address, as it can result in significant financial implications for both parties. In New York divorce cases, alimony is generally ordered in litigated cases to help both spouses maintain a living standard similar to what they had during the marriage, especially if there is a significant disparity in income or earning capacity between them.

That said, not all divorces are accompanied by spousal support orders. There are several reasons why a New York court may deny alimony, including the following.

Marital misconduct

One reason the court may deny alimony in New York is marital misconduct. While New York is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that fault is generally not considered in divorce proceedings, extreme cases of marital misconduct may still influence the court’s decision regarding alimony. For example, if one spouse has engaged in behavior such as adultery, domestic violence or financial fraud that significantly contributed to the breakdown of the marriage, the court may be less inclined to award alimony to that spouse.

Inability to pay

Where the spouse responsible for paying alimony can demonstrate a genuine inability to meet the financial obligation, the court may deny or reduce the alimony award. If the paying spouse can provide evidence of financial hardship such as unemployment, significant debt or a substantial decrease in income, the court may determine that they cannot afford to pay alimony while maintaining their own financial stability.

Non-durationary marriage

If the marriage was too short-lived, the court may be less likely to grant alimony. In cases where the marriage lasted only a brief period, the court may conclude that there has not been sufficient time for one spouse to become financially dependent on the other. As a result, alimony may be deemed unnecessary and the court may opt not to award it. Typically, the duration of the marriage is a factor considered by the court when determining the appropriateness and duration of alimony payments.

No financial need

If the spouse seeking alimony has sufficient income or assets to support themselves independently without assistance from the other spouse, the court may determine that alimony is not warranted. Factors such as the individual’s earning capacity, employability, assets and financial resources are considered by the court when assessing the need for alimony.

Attempted asset concealment

In cases where the requesting spouse attempted to hide marital assets during the divorce process to unfairly disadvantage the higher-earning spouse, the court may deny alimony. If there is evidence that one spouse engaged in fraudulent behavior such as concealing assets or misrepresenting financial information with the intention of denying the other spouse of their share of the marital property, the court may view this as a breach of trust and may refuse to award alimony to the deceptive spouse. Such misconduct undermines the equitable distribution principle of divorce law in New York, which aims to ensure a fair and just division of marital property.

Spousal support is not guaranteed in a New York divorce, as this arrangement rests on the unique circumstances of each case. At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.

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Mia Poppe, Esq.

Mia Poppe, Esq.
Managing Partner