Spousal Support

Understanding Maintenance In New York

Temporary Maintenance:

Maintenance, formerly called alimony and sometimes known as spousal support, has recently changed under the law. The new guidelines provide a fixed formula for awarding temporary maintenance. Temporary maintenance is maintenance paid during the pendency of the divorce action and terminates upon entry of the divorce judgment. The stated purpose of the guidelines is to provide consistency and predictability for temporary maintenance awards in the same way that the child support guidelines do. The new temporary maintenance laws are effective October, 2015.

Peter L Jameson PLLCPursuant to the guidelines, temporary maintenance is to be awarded after two computational methods are established. the first is utilized if the payor will also be paying child support. The second is used where there is no child support or the payor is the custodial parent. The first calculation results in a lesser award since that payor will also be paying child support. Income for calculation of temporary maintenance is to be capped at $175,000 and is to be calculated first, prior to any child support calculation.  The guidelines shall not apply to incomes less than the self-support reserve (135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines).

In the first calculation, you subtract 25% of the maintenance payee's income from 20% of the maintenance payor's income. You then multiply the sum of the maintenance payor's income and the maintenance payee's income by 40% and subtract the maintenance payee's income from the result. The lower of the two amounts will be the guideline amount of temporary maintenance if also paying child support.

If not paying child support, you subtract 20% of the maintenance payee's income from 30% of the maintenance payor's income. You then multiply the sum of the maintenance payor's income and the maintenance payee's income by 40% and subtract the maintenance payee's income from the result. The lower of the two amounts will be the guideline amount of temporary maintenance.

The guidelines state that if the court finds the above results in an award which is unjust or improper it can adjust it based upon 13 factors listed in the act.

The court shall determine the duration of temporary maintenance by considering the length of the marriage.Temporary maintenance shall terminate no later than the issuance of the judgment of divorce or the death of either party, whichever occurs first.

After the issuance of the judgment of divorce, post judgment maintenance may apply

Post Judgment Maintenance:

Post Judgment Maintenance was formerly left to the discretion of the court and fluctuated greatly. in September 2015, the Governor of New York signed into law new guidelines for the court to utilize in determining post judgment maintenance awards. Parties are free however to "opt-out" of these calculations in settled agreements.

Like with temporary maintenance, there are two formulas, one for a payor who also pays child support and one who does not pay child support. Each calculation uses income of the payor no greater than $175,000.00. The new post judgment maintenance laws go into effect January 23rd, 2016.

In the first calculation, you subtract 25% of the maintenance payee's income from 20% of the maintenance payor's income. You then multiply the sum of the maintenance payor's income and the maintenance payee's income by 40% and subtract the maintenance payee's income from the result. The lower of the two amounts will be the guideline amount of  maintenance if also paying child support.

If not paying child support, you subtract 20% of the maintenance payee's income from 30% of the maintenance payor's income. You then multiply the sum of the maintenance payor's income and the maintenance payee's income by 40% and subtract the maintenance payee's income from the result. The lower of the two amounts will be the guideline amount of maintenance.

Where the guideline amount is zero or less than zero no award of temporary maintenance or post-divorce maintenance is made. The guidelines also state that if the court finds the above results in an award which is unjust or improper it can adjust it based upon 15 factors listed in the act.

The Duration of Post Judgment Maintance is still left to the discretion of the court however there are suggested guidelines:

Length of MarriageDuration of Maintenance
0 – 15 years15% - 30% of length of marriage
15 – 20 years30% - 40% of length of marriage
More than 20 years35% - 50% of length of marriage