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Spousal Maintenance, Long Island, NY

What You Need to Know about Alimony & Your Future
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Spousal Maintenance, sometimes referred to as Alimony, are payments made to the lesser income-earning spouse by the higher income-earning spouse, to ensure that both spouses are properly taken care of during the pendency of and after a divorce proceeding in Nassau County or Suffolk County, Long Island, NY. Therefore, a Spousal Maintenance Award ordered during the pendency of the case can differ from one ordered at the entry of the Final Judgment of Divorce. Spousal maintenance might be temporary and may be paid during the pendency of a divorce, or might be ordered to continue post-divorce.

Is Spousal Maintenance the Same Thing as Spousal Support?

You will likely be surprised to find that Spousal Maintenance is not in fact the same thing as Spousal Support. Spousal Support, as opposed to Spousal Maintenance, is awarded to the lower income earning spouse during the course of the marriage. This can be done by filing a petition in the Family Court in Nassau County or Suffolk County (depending upon where you reside) or can be agreed upon in a Separation Agreement which will be filed with the court and entered as a Judgment of Separation. However, Spousal Support will always terminate when a Judgment of Divorce is entered, so if you and your spouse are planning to convert the Judgment of Separation into a Judgment of Divorce this factor is of importance to you when you create the Judgment of Separation.

What is Temporary Spousal Maintenance & How is it Calculated?

child support calculatorTemporary Spousal Maintenance is spousal maintenance which is awarded during the pendency of your Long Island Divorce. The Nassau County or Suffolk County Court will follow the temporary support calculator, which sets forth a precise formula to be used when determining the award. The Court will do two (2) calculations to determine the proper amount of Temporary Spousal Maintenance.

First, twenty percent (20%) of the payee spouse’s income will be subtracted from thirty percent (30%) of the payor spouse’s income.

Then, the payee spouse’s income will be subtracted from forty percent (40%) of the total combined spousal income. Keep in mind that Child Support Payments will be added to the income of the payee spouse and deducted from the income of the payor spouse.

Finally, the payee spouse will be awarded Spousal Maintenance based upon the lower of the two above calculations. However, the Court is not bound by this formula, and if it determines the award is too high or too low it can deviate from the guidelines and award an amount it deems appropriate.

Temporary Spousal Maintenance awards are just that – temporary. Accordingly, they will terminate upon the entry of the Final Judgment of Divorce. During the pendency of the proceeding, the purpose of these payments is to allow the payee spouse to continue making all payments he or she had been prior to the commencement of the action for divorce, including health insurance and carrying charges on the marital residence.

Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance on Long Island

Calculating a Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance award is based upon factors directly relating to the marriage and not simply a numeric formula. Under New York’s Domestic Relations Law, Nassau County and Suffolk County Courts are required to look at the parties’ pre-separation standard of living along with other factors including, among other things:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of both parties
  • The ability of the payee spouse to become self-supporting
  • Whether the actions of one spouse inhibited the other from obtaining an education or valuable employment during the course of the marriage
  • Whether one spouse wasted marital assets to the detriment of the other spouse.

The statute also provides the Court with a “catch-all” factor: anything else the Court may deem just and proper. This factor makes an award of spousal maintenance fact-specific and permits the Court to inquire into the individual circumstances of your marriage.

There is no formula for determining the duration of a spousal maintenance award. While many attorneys and prospective clients believe that the length of a maintenance award should be one-third the length of the marriage, the court will consider the same factors for duration that it will for the amount. In determining the length of a spousal maintenance award, the court will consider the amount of any temporary spousal maintenance awards paid. Additionally, a Court may award Lifetime Maintenance in extreme cases. An award of Lifetime Maintenance will terminate on the death or remarriage of the payee spouse.

Courts Can Use Discretion to Change the Formula

courts decide property splitCourts are not bound by this formula, and if it determines the award is too high or too low it can deviate from the guidelines and award the amount it deems appropriate. Further, if the payor spouse’s income is above $178,000, the court will nevertheless use a maximum of $178,000 to calculate the amount of support, but can deviate from this formula if it determines it to be necessary.

What if I Also Have to Pay Child Support?

child support long island nyTo provide the spouse who is responsible for both child support and spousal maintenance a break from the full demands of paying both spousal maintenance and child support the courts use a slightly different formula.

  • The first formula uses 25% of the payee’s income will be subtracted from 20% of the payor’s income.
  • The second calculation is as follows: the sum of the payor’s income and the payee’s income will be multiplied by 40%, and the payee’s income will be subtracted from the result.
  • The payee spouse will be awarded the lower of the two amounts.
  • If the payor spouse’s income is above $178,000, the court will plus a maximum of $178,000 into this formula, but can deviate from the formula if it deems necessary.

What About Post-Divorce Maintenance? How Much Will I Get or Have To Pay & for How Long?

Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance are the regular payments awarded to be paid to one spouse by another for a specified period of time. The calculation of a post-divorce spousal maintenance award is based upon all the same formulas as the temporary maintenance standard. Like the temporary maintenance formula, it takes into account whether the payor spouse is also paying child support, and adjusts the maintenance amount accordingly. It also factors in a maximum of $178,000 for income.

The duration of post-divorce maintenance is calculated with another formula based on the length of the marriage.

  • For marriages that lasted up to and including 15 years, maintenance is awarded for 15% to 30% of the length of the marriage.
  • For marriages that lasted for more than 15 years up to and including 20 years, maintenance is awarded for 30% to 40% of the length of the marriage.
  • For marriages which lasted more than 20 years, the duration of the award is 35% to 50% of the length of the marriage.

Long Island Courts Have Discretion to Change the Formula

However, it is important to remember that courts on Long Island have discretion to adjust the duration, or award non-durational maintenance in appropriate cases. The court can consider any factors that it deems relevant and justified in your situation in order to make this determination.

Can I Modify My Spousal Maintenance Order?

Yes, if there is a substantial change in circumstances. For example, if the payor spouse lost his/her job, experienced a pay cut, or had a sudden illness, or if the receiving spouse is cohabitating in a new relationship, gets remarried, or became self-supporting, the court may decide to change the award.

Remember that maintenance payments terminate upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the payee (recipient) spouse.

Can My Spouse and I Enter Into an Agreement on Our Own?

Most Nassau County and Suffolk County divorce proceedings settle with little to no court intervention. This serves to save both spouses time and money, as well as eliminate the stress of having to see your spouse in court and testify during the litigation process. If your goal is to settle your divorce with your spouse, Spousal Maintenance is an important topic which should be discussed.

Do not be afraid to bring up the topic of Spousal Maintenance during settlement discussions with your spouse and their divorce attorney. Long Island couples can agree to a maintenance award of a certain amount for a set term of years, or you can agree to a maintenance award for one amount until the happening of an event upon which the maintenance award will increase or decrease for a certain amount of years. Either way, if you agree upon your maintenance obligation rather than have it imposed by a Nassau County or Suffolk County Court, both you and your spouse will be happier in the long run due to the reduced amount of stress.

Agreements setting forth Spousal Maintenance payments generally include a clause setting forth what are known as “termination events.” The name is pretty self-explanatory: the payor spouse’s maintenance obligation will terminate upon the happening of any of the events listed. Most commonly included are the death of either party and the remarriage of the payee spouse. A third termination which has become more prevalent is the payee spouse’s residing with an unrelated adult individual for a certain period of time. Some agreements set a thirty (30) day time period while some set a sixty (60) day time period. Additionally, some agreements limit the residence to a person with whom the payee spouse is involved in a romantic relationship, while others specifically state the maintenance payments will terminate whether or not the payee spouse is involved in a romantic relationship with the individual he or she currently resides with.

Agreements relating to Spousal Maintenance prior to going before a judge in Nassau County or Suffolk County Court are also beneficial because they can set parameters on the payor spouse’s income, such as stating that a maintenance obligation will never be predicated on an income of less than $150,000, or if the income of the payor spouse decreases by more than $20,000 the parties will agree to an adjusted amount of maintenance. Therefore, if you can attempt to settle this issue with your spouse prior to going to court, you will find entering into an agreement on your own accord will have many benefits, both financial and emotional.

Need Help with Setting Up a Spousal Maintenance Agreement? Talk to a Long Island Divorce Lawyer

To learn more about what you need to know about spousal maintenance (alimony) on Long Island and how to get help to protect yourself and your future visit this page: Spousal Maintenance / Alimony on Long Island, NY. An experienced, compassionate divorce Lawyer Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger Esq., PC and his team have helped many couples in Nassau County and Suffolk County develop Spousal Maintenance Agreements that work for both parties in Separation or Divorce Agreements. If you need help, please contact us at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page for a free consultation.

“From the moment I contacted Mr. Hornberger I knew I was in good hands. He was easy to speak with, paid close attention to all my MANY questions and reassured me that he could handle my divorce case. Since the 1st phone call, I was sure I wanted Mr. Hornberger to represent me in what I knew would be a very difficult divorce. He DID NOT disappoint! When I thought I would lose everything, with Mr. Hornberger fighting for me, I was able to have custody of my children, stay in the family home and receive child support. As far as divorce attorneys go….. Mr. Hornberger is the RIGHT choice!!!!”


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Mr. Hornberger was so helpful to me in a recent consultation. He gave me his time generously, listened patiently, offered clear counsel, and said I didn't actually need further legal services in a particular matter, which I really appreciated.
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13:26 18 Jun 22
Mr. Hornberger was so helpful to me in a recent consultation. He gave me his time generously, listened patiently,... offered clear counsel, and said I didn't actually need further legal services in a particular matter, which I really more
Elizabeth Martin
Elizabeth Martin
21:06 25 Jan 22
The team at Hornberger Verbitsky made me feel at ease after I retained them after a 3 year contested divorce process. I... like their approach with how they educate you on ways to get the best outcome in your divorce. Mr. Hornberger made me feel heard and was compassionate to my case while also being aggressive in the courtroom to help me get the most positive outcome. He prevented my case from having to go to trial and he closed the deal in my long drawn out emotional divorce. I was happy that I retained him and would recommend him to anyone that is going through a high conflict more
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Rob and Christine are the very best out there!I can not say enough about them. They both have helped me so much in... different matters throughout the last several years . They have gone over and beyond!I highly recommend this law firm !read more
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Tara Tocci
20:59 17 Sep 21
I called to make an appointment for a consultation to discuss a mediated divorce, the office was fantastic with getting... me a prompt appointment. When going in all my questions were asked and I left feeling comfortable in my decision to move forward in using the Hornberger/Verbitsky office. Despite a pandemic going on the office still worked diligently to get my papers filed and my divorce complete in a timely manner. Highly recommend!read more
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20:17 17 Sep 21
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C were phenomenal in every way. Robert was very genuine, patient and professional. Walking in,... I had no idea what to expect but he went above and beyond to explain the entire process thoroughly. He guided and informed me of my rights. Patty was amazing, she answered every question I had no matter how many times I called, she was very understanding. I highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Even if its just for questions on how to navigate this more
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Rob and his team are by far one of the greatest! Patty is amazing and will make sure all of your questions are... addressed and responded to. Rob and his team made a very tough time in my life as simple as possible. Rob is extremely knowledgeable and very empathetic. Patty was a pleasure to work with and I would recommend this firm to anyone that needs a great divorce attorney. Thank you for all of your help!read more
Angela Thearle
Angela Thearle
00:21 07 Aug 21
Hornberger law was the best choice I made when I needed to go to family court with my ex for custody of my children.... They were there at any time when I neeeded them. Going through a custody battle can be a huge emotional rollercoaster and very painful. They helped me through it and made it less painful and heartbreaking. And I got the outcome plus more than I expectedread more
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I am a graduate of Norland English nanny college. I thank God every day that Mr. Robert Hornberger protected my clients... in the legal ways i could not. Children are a blessing not a blender to be fought over during some silly spat!read more
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I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with... Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first more
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I hired Robert to handle a child custody and child support matter. He was prompt and professional and was able to... achieve a result that 3 prior attorneys could not. He and his staff made a stressful situation easy. I highly recommend his more
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Randi Gottlieb
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18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my... consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!read more
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22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly
Ashley Hubner
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20:30 14 Feb 20
Navigating my divorce was a challenging experience to say the least, but I was supported and guided every step of the... way by my attorney, Robert. With the daunting task of hiring a divorce lawyer, I knew I would need someone with the right combination of knowledge, compassion and integrity. Robert has a strong background in family law, sincere character and direct communication to be superior to the others. He and his staff were professional and caring. I always felt I was in good hands. I highly recommend the Law Offices Hornberger and Verbitsky for the legal expertise, compassion and understanding of the many complex facets associated with more
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23:35 14 Jan 20
Robert Hornberger has been a friend of mine and my family for years. He has helped us all in ways that are too... numerable to mention. I went through a divorce that I don’t think I could’ve done if I didn’t have Robert by my side. He is vivacious, motivated, knowledgeable, and has an extreme desire to succeed and excel...and he does! He goes over and above for all of his clientele. I would recommend his law firm to anybody who is looking for a Great Lawyer with integrity!read more
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