Before women had jobs outside the home, a divorce could be a very devastating situation because they had no means by which to support themselves. At that time, they also often got custody of the children. So, here were women who had no financial means and children to care for who had to find a way to survive. To combat this, New York courts would award alimony. Things have changed over the years, and women now usually work and have a means by which to support themselves. Custody is often a shared effort, and alimony is now spousal support that the court may award to a man or woman. You can still get it, but there are rules in place to ensure fairness for you and your ex-spouse. 

The New York City Bar explains the purpose of spousal support is no longer to provide a financial means for an ex-spouse but rather to assist a former spouse until he or she is financially independent. It also may be a way to maintain a standard of living that he or she cannot obtain through his or her employment. 

A judge always has the final say on support. He or she will carefully look over your finances now and during the marriage, along with expenses, education, health statuses, the standards of living during the marriage, child custody arrangements and other factors that indicate if one spouse needs help financially. 

Do keep in mind that the court will look at assets. If you have a lot of assets but not much money, this could be a negative in your case. The court may assume you can liquidate assets to get the cash you need. 

Spousal support may be temporary or long-term. It depends on your situation. In any case, though, the court has oversight and can end it at any time. This information is for education and is not legal advice.