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How Is Spousal Support Calculated In New York?

During and following a divorce, a spouse may be eligible for temporary maintenance, final maintenance or both. Maintenance, the legal term for alimony in New York, is a spousal support mechanism. A New York divorce attorney can help you obtain spousal support to:

  • Provide temporary cash to assist a spouse in starting a new life.
  • Permanently equalize the standard of living between ex-spouses as part of the overall property division.

Calculating maintenance in New York

Temporary maintenance is a combination of a mathematical formula and judicial discretion. To determine a default amount, the judge may consider, for example, either 30 percent of your husband’s income minus 20 percent of your income, or 40 percent of your husband’s income and your income combined minus 20 percent of your income. The judge may adjust the default amount if there is a finding of additional needed income for such purposes as school tuition and the care of minor children. If a parent has primary custody of small children, it may be difficult to find a high-paying job.

Final maintenance is entirely a matter of judicial discretion, and maintenance is not necessarily awarded in all cases. Factors that the judge may use in setting the amount and length of payments include:

  • The length of the marriage: Generally speaking, the longer the marriage, the higher the maintenance amount.
  • The relative age and health of the spouses: If age and health affects earning power, the judge may consider that effect.
  • The payee spouse’s financial need: Does the payee spouse have sufficient income and property to care for reasonable needs?
  • The payor spouse’s ability to pay: To use a colloquial term, one cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip. 

For a consultation with a divorce attorney who fights for economic equality between ex-spouses, contact our office. Sager Gellerman Eisner Attorneys at Law serves clients throughout Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx.

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