What is Spousal Maintenance or Alimony?
Spousal maintenance are payments made by the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse in a divorce. Many people may know it as alimony, though it is not technically called alimony in New York State. 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?
No, spousal maintenance is not the same thing as spousal support. Spousal support refers to payments made to the lower earning spouse during marriage, and usually results from a separation agreement. Spousal support terminates when a judgment of divorce is entered.
What is Temporary Spousal Maintenance & How is it Calculated?
Temporary spousal maintenance is spousal maintenance that is awarded while the divorce is pending. In cases where child support is not also being paid, a Long Island court will do two separate calculations and compare the results to determine the amount of temporary spousal maintenance. The formulas are as follows:
- First, 20% of the payee spouse’s income will be subtracted from 30% of the payor spouse’s income.
- Then, the payee spouse’s income will be subtracted from 40% of the total combined spousal income.
- Finally, the payee spouse will be awarded spousal maintenance based upon the lower of the two above calculations.
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Courts Can Use Discretion to Change the Formula
Courts 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?
To 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.
How Do I Ensure I’m Protected?
To ensure you get or pay what’s fair, come in and speak to one of or experienced Divorce or Family Law attorneys. Contact our friendly Client Services Director at 631-923-1910 to schedule your free consultation today.
Links to More Information about Alimony/Spousal Maintenance on Long Island
Expert explanation of Spousal Maintenance (also known as Alimony) laws in New York.
Spousal support or spousal maintenance(alimony), are payments made by one spouse to the other.
Answers to frequently asked questions Spousal Maintenance, sometimes called Alimony.
Long Island Divorce Lawyer Answers Question: ‘Do I Have to Pay Spousal Maintenance During or After Divorce’?
Want to know if you have to pay Spousal Maintenance (formerly known as Alimony) to your ex after your divorce?
Spousal Maintenance, aka Alimony, is one of the major issues in every NY divorce. NY Legislature passes bill setting new rules.
Answers to frequently asked questions about Spousal Maintenance, or Alimony to help you determine if you will receive or have to pay it.
What you need to know about Spousal Maintenance (formerly known as alimony) in your Long Island divorce.
New York Domestic Relations Law were revised with the intent of providing a more uniform and predictable system for Spousal Maintenance distribution.
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