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Spousal Maintenance Lawyer on Long Island

How Is Alimony Calculated in NY?

Your divorce is going to be comprised of a variety of factors, many of which you might not have ever anticipated being a problem until the divorce papers were first filed. In particular, deciding on spousal maintenance can lead to the biggest arguments of all.

People generally do not want to give money, especially not considerable amounts, to their exes. It is no surprise that spousal maintenance can hit a nerve. You might be less-than-shocked to find that your soon-to-be ex-spouse does not want to provide you any spousal maintenance. Is it really their decision to make, though?

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Ultimately, spousal maintenance is not something that one spouse gets to decide. When there is a clear need for spousal maintenance — such as when only one spouse was earning income while married — the New York family law court handling your divorce will step in and calculate a “fair” amount of spousal maintenance for you and your spouse. The calculation is not as intimidating as it might seem, though, as New York has a handy spousal maintenance calculator that can shed light on how the court may set spousal maintenance in your divorce. However, it is worth noting that spousal maintenance in New York stopped being tax deductible at the end of 2018, which means the court now has to also consider the tax consequences brought by spousal maintenance payments.

Other factors that determine how much spousal maintenance is paid and for how long include:

  • Age and typical health of both spouses
  • Duration of marriage
  • Spouse of lesser income’s ability to financially support themselves
  • Standard of living both spouses enjoyed while married

The court will only look at numbers and data. To this end, the court can try to make the right spousal maintenance decision and still fall short of the ideal. In order to do your best to get the best outcome, it is encouraged to try to talk things out with your spouse first, or even use a collaborative approach to your divorce. If you both agree to work together one last time, then the decision of spousal maintenance is up to you both.

Temporary Maintenance in New York

Under the 2010 divorce reform act, there are now guidelines for determining temporary maintenance. In short, the court must figure out what the income of each party is or should be and then apply the following formula:

Where the payor's income is up to the $500,000 annual cap:

(a) The court shall subtract twenty percent of the income of the payee from thirty percent of the income up to the income cap of the payor.

(b) The court shall then multiply the sum of the payor's income up to and including the income cap and all of the payee's income by forty percent.

(c) The court shall subtract the income of the payee from the amount derived from clause (b) of this subparagraph.

(d) The guideline amount of temporary maintenance shall be the lower of the amounts determined by clauses (a) and (c) of this subparagraph; if the amount determined by clause (c) of this subparagraph is less than or equal to zero, the guideline amount shall be zero dollars.

If the income of the payor exceeds $500,000 annually, then the court shall use the formula above to determine temporary maintenance on the first $500,000 of income and then it shall consider 19 factors to determine what if any maintenance should be awarded on income over that cap.

The act states that, if the court finds the above results in an award which is unjust or improper, it can adjust it based upon 17 factors listed in the act.

Post-Judgment Maintenance in New York Divorces

This act does not state any presumptive amounts or duration, but instead lists 20 factors for the court to consider when making such awards. What this law most importantly does not cover are answers to what kind of impact the formula for setting temporary maintenance will have upon courts in determining the appropriate dollar amount and duration of final awards of maintenance.

Enforcing New York Alimony/Maintenance Laws

Spousal maintenance is ordered by New York family courts. This means that, when your ex stops making maintenance payments, they are essentially in contempt of court. If you need to enforce spousal maintenance in Long Island, then you can ask the court to enforce the order. In some cases, the non-compliant spouse could have their income garnished to pay the spousal maintenance that is owed.

Get in Touch with Our New York Spousal Support Attorneys

At Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law, we are committed to representing our clients and utilizing our knowledge of spousal support and alimony to its fullest extent. Our team of attorneys can review your particular situation in order to determine exactly what our firm can do to help.

Contact a Long Island alimony lawyer at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law to discuss spousal maintenance as it relates to your divorce or legal separation.

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