When entering marriages, some individuals vow to their partners that they will stay together until 'death do us part.' This traditional vow has been used by many New York couples, including some who have chosen to end their marriages through divorce. However, even divorce and death can be insufficient to end some obligations that are created between formerly married people.
For example, in New York, a divorce court can award an individual alimony, also called spousal maintenance or support. Its intent is to provide the recipient spouse with the money they need to live a life that is comparable to that lived during the marriage and also takes into account the recipient spouse's capacity to make money on their own.
The length of a marriage can greatly impact the amount or duration of alimony that a recipient spouse receives; if a couple was married for a very long time, it is possible that one spouse may be awarded permanent or indefinite alimony. This type of alimony may continue even after the paying spouse dies. In some cases, a recipient spouse may receive continuing alimony payments from the paying spouse's estate even after that individual has passed away.
As all legal matters are dependent on the facts that are relevant to their cases, readers are encouraged to speak with their own attorneys about their situations and not rely on this post as legal advice. It is provided as information only; in some cases, the death of an ex-spouse may lead to the end of an alimony obligation, but, in others, that obligation may endure even after the payer has died.