Judges start to address the new spousal maintenance calculations

In October of 2010 New York State passed new temporary spousal maintenance calculations. Prior to this new statute, during the pendente lite period the Court would ascertain the needs of the spouse requesting maintenance by reviewing the lifestyle of the parties during the marriage, the expenses of each spouse, the income of each party and each party's access to assets. Typically where one spouse predominately out earned the other spouse, the Court would also direct the more monied spouse to pay the carrying charges on the martial home.

However, upon enactment of this new statute, it was unclear how the courts would apply this new statute, which does not address how the court should maintain the status quo during the pendency of the action, including the payment of the carrying charges. Since the new spousal maintenance calculation can in many circumstances make the more monied spouse the less monied spouse and the issue of how the court would direct the carrying charges to be paid remained questionable.

Well, two judges have recently ruled on this very issue. In the case of J.V v. G.V. Judge Norman Janowitz of the Nassau County Supreme Court determined that deviating from the presumptive amount of spousal maintenance was appropriate. The Court stated that the Husband was voluntarily paying the carrying charges on the martial home, which the Wife voluntarily vacated, and all the children's expenses. The Wife also engaged in wasteful disposition of marital assets. As such the Court awarded the Wife spousal maintenance in the sum of $5,332.99 per month, rather than the presumptive sum of $10,249.31 per month.

In the case of S.B. v. G.B., Judge Ellen Gesmner of New York County Supreme Court declined to award the Wife maintenance above the discretionary income cap of $500,000.00 and awarded the Wife the sum of $12,500.00 per month. Again, in this case the Husband consented to pay carrying costs and utilities.

What lawyers and litigants can take away from this is that the application of the new statute by the Court is case and fact sensitive. In order to learn more about this new statute and how it may affect you, contact a lawyer in our office.

Categories: Divorce