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Alimony: NY versus CT (a.k.a. spousal support) (updated 2024)

Alimony NY versus CT (a.k.a. spousal maintenance)

Attorney Kevin Brown Family Law Attorney

Attorney Kevin C. Brown

If residency requirements to file for divorce are met in both New York and Connecticut and you have a significant marital income, evaluating the best state in which to file for your divorce could highlight material differences in the potential or expected value of your spousal support settlement.

There are significant differences in the law between Connecticut and New York as it relates to spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance in New York and alimony in Connecticut.

It is always best practice to consult with an experienced divorce and family lawyer that practices actively in both New York and Connecticut to help you evaluate if there are compelling or strategic reasons to file in one state versus the other.  Needle | Cuda: Divorce and Family Law has extensive experience with spousal support awards in both states.


Spousal Support (a.k.a. spousal maintenance) in New York

New York courts award spousal maintenance based on statutory guidelines that begin with formulas based on each party’s income (or capacity to earn income).  Maintenance can be awarded as a set dollar amount, usually on a monthly basis.  Currently the New York courts will make awards taking into account a maximum of $203,000 of the paying spouse’s income, unless the court exercises its discretion to consider more income.

In parts of the state with high costs of living (e.g., New York City and the surrounding suburbs), or in the case of parties with very high incomes, courts often will adjust upward the “cap” on the paying party’s income to account for the recipients’ needs, standard of living, and other relevant considerations.

New York also has guidelines for the duration of spousal maintenance based on the duration of the marriage:

15 years or less:  15 percent to 30 percent of the length of the marriage;
16 years to 20 years:                                                                                                           30 percent to 40 percent of the length of the marriage;
More than 20 years: 35 percent to 50 percent of the length of the marriage;

 Spousal Support (a.k.a. alimony) in Connecticut

Connecticut approaches alimony very differently.  There are no statutory formulas in Connecticut.  The award is left entirely to the discretion of the court and will be based on an overall assessment of the relevant facts of the case.

Rather than a fixed dollar amount, which is the usual approach in New York, in Connecticut alimony may be awarded as a percentage of a party’s income, meaning that the amount due may increase or decrease as the payor’s income changes.  The result is an award that may be greater or lesser than the award a New York court would make under the same facts.

The duration of alimony is also left entirely to the court’s discretion; however, our experience is that courts in Connecticut are likely to award alimony of a meaningfully longer duration than the New York courts, including lifetime alimony in the case of very long-term marriages.

Spousal support award outcomes (a.k.a. alimony orders) are much less predictable in Connecticut

Given the material differences in the statutes related to how spousal maintenance is determined, the bottom line is that the amount and duration of alimony in Connecticut is much less predictable than it is in New York.

Consult an attorney or law firm with experienced in both New York and Connecticut Divorce

If you can make a case for dual residency in Connecticut and New York, it is critical to evaluate the differences in applicable law and how those differences might impact the spousal maintenance (or alimony) award in your divorce.

Contact us at 203-557-9500 or through the firm’s website,

Compare to Alimony in Connecticut


Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about the difference in divorce laws between Connecticut and New York

Understanding the complexity of residency for high net worth individuals who may have homes in multiple states, Needle | Cuda adeptly navigates the specific residency requirements in both Connecticut and New York. The firm ensures that clients meet jurisdictional criteria to file for divorce, providing clear, strategic guidance tailored to each client's unique circumstances.

Needle | Cuda emphasizes the distinction between Connecticut's "all property" approach and New York's focus on "marital property" for equitable distribution. With profound experience in high asset divorces, the firm meticulously evaluates and advocates for fair distribution, leveraging its expertise to protect and optimize clients' financial interests in either state.

The firm leverages its deep understanding of the nuances in spousal support laws between Connecticut and New York, crafting bespoke strategies that reflect each state's guidelines and the lifestyle accustomed during the marriage. Needle | Cuda focuses on achieving equitable outcomes that safeguard clients' wealth while ensuring fairness and compliance with state-specific laws.

With a child-centric approach, Needle | Cuda navigates the distinct legal frameworks of Connecticut and New York to advocate for custody and support arrangements that serve the best interests of the children while respecting the sophisticated needs of high net worth families. The firm employs a balanced, thoughtful strategy to secure outcomes that promote stability and well-being.

Recognizing the critical importance of business assets in high net worth divorces, Needle | Cuda utilizes tailored strategies to value, protect, and fairly distribute business interests. The firm's approach takes into account the differing legal landscapes of Connecticut and New York, ensuring business assets are handled with precision and foresight.

Needle | Cuda provides experienced guidance on the enforceability and implications of prenuptial agreements in both Connecticut and New York. The firm ensures that such agreements are drafted and reviewed with meticulous attention to detail, reflecting the complexities of each state's laws to protect clients' interests effectively.

Aware of the significant tax implications of divorce, especially for high net worth individuals, Needle | Cuda advises on the most tax-efficient divorce settlements. The firm's nuanced understanding of Connecticut and New York tax laws allows for strategic planning that minimizes tax liabilities and maximizes financial health post-divorce.

With unparalleled expertise in high asset divorces, Needle | Cuda employs sophisticated valuation and negotiation techniques to address the division of luxury assets and real estate. The firm's approach is tailored to the legal context of each state, ensuring that clients retain their fair share of high-value investments.

Needle | Cuda is renowned for its discretion and tactful handling of high-profile divorces. The firm's strategic communications and privacy measures are adapted to the legal and media landscapes of Connecticut and New York, ensuring that high net worth clients maintain their privacy and dignity throughout the divorce process.

For international clients navigating divorce in Connecticut or New York, Needle | Cuda offers global insights combined with local expertise. The firm adeptly handles cross-border legal issues, asset protection, and custody arrangements, providing comprehensive support for clients with international ties.

Needle | Cuda places paramount importance on confidentiality, understanding the high stakes for privacy in high net worth divorces. The firm employs robust confidentiality protocols and leverages discreet legal processes available in both Connecticut and New York to protect sensitive information, ensuring that the privacy of their clients is maintained throughout the divorce proceedings.

Recognizing the emotional and financial value of art and collectibles, Needle | Cuda utilizes expert appraisers and negotiators to accurately value and equitably divide these assets. The firm’s sophisticated approach considers not only the current market value but also the provenance and future appreciation potential, ensuring a fair division that respects both parties' attachments and financial interests.

The well-being of children is a central focus for Needle | Cuda. The firm advocates for parenting plans and custody arrangements that minimize disruption and support the children's lifestyle and educational needs. By prioritizing a collaborative approach and utilizing child specialists when necessary, Needle | Cuda ensures that the children of high net worth families have a stable and nurturing environment post-divorce.

Retirement and pension assets are critical components of high net worth divorces. Needle | Cuda’s expert attorneys navigate the complex laws governing these assets in both Connecticut and New York, crafting strategies that protect clients’ long-term financial security. The firm's negotiations focus on equitable distribution while considering tax implications and future financial planning.

For high-profile clients, public image and media exposure are significant concerns during a divorce. Needle | Cuda strategically manages media relations and public statements, working closely with public relations professionals when necessary. The firm's approach is proactive and discreet, aiming to minimize exposure and manage the narrative in a way that protects clients' reputations and privacy.

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