Spousal Maintenance, aka Alimony, Variations on Long Island
Spousal Maintenance, otherwise or formerly known as Alimony, plays a significant part in a majority of Divorce Proceedings handled on Long Island. Spousal maintenance is a creature of statute, and, as such is typically determined by following a formula. However, in certain cases, the courts in Nassau and Suffolk counties can deviate from the statute in a few different ways.
New York State Domestic Relations Law
In order to understand the possible variations your spousal maintenance may take, it’s important to understand the basics. As a starting point, the courts recognize that there is a presumption that the less-monied spouse is entitled to be financially supported by the monied spouse. When determining temporary spousal support, courts will adhere to the lower of the following two formulas:
- 30% percent of the monied spouse’s income, minus 20% of the less-monied spouse’s income; or
- 40% percent of the parties’ combined income, minus the less-monied spouse’s income.
Long Island Courts Can Deviate from the Spousal Support Formula
When determining Post-Divorce Maintenance, there are a variety a formulas utilized, depending on whether child support is also being paid.
It is also important to note that there are conditions under which the court may deviate from the formulas above. There is a list of 15 factors that the court may consider if it believes the maintenance award arrived at through the formulas is unjust or inappropriate.
Duration of Spousal Support on Long Island
Although the Domestic Relations Law puts forth a schedule for the duration of maintenance, it is only advisory. However, most courts will utilize that schedule if the parties cannot agree on a duration. If the parties are married 15 years or under, maintenance will last 15%-30% of the length of marriage; for marriages lasting 15-20 years, maintenance will last for 30%-40% of the length of marriage; finally, for marriages lasting over 20 years, maintenance will last for 35%-50% of the length of marriage. In determining the duration of maintenance, the judge will consider the same 15 factors mentioned above.
Income Above the Cap
When determining maintenance according to the formulas above, both parties’ income is currently capped at $184,000. If a party earns an income above the cap, the court will apply the above formulas to income up to the cap. For example, if the monied spouse is earning $300,000 per year, the formulas above would cap his or her income at $184,000 for the purposes of determining spousal maintenance. This would obviously drastically alter the spousal maintenance award, as $116,000 of the monied spouse’s income is not being considered.
However, the court may also, within its discretion, consider any income earned over the cap. Courts often consider the age and health of the parties, the present or future earning capacities of the parties, and the homemaking, parenting and income earning contributions of the less-monied spouse, among other factors, in order to determine whether it should consider income over the statutory cap. If the court finds that the circumstances of a case warrant considering the income over the statutory cap, it must state its reasons and factors considered in its decision.
Have Questions About Spousal Support/Alimony on Long Island? We Can Help
Spousal Maintenance can quickly become a very complex issue in your Long Island Divorce. In order to protect your rights and financial interests, it is important to have an experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney by your side. Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-923-1910 to set up your free consultation with one of our experienced Family Law attorneys.
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