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How Is Alimony Calculated In Ny

Old Law: New York Alimony / Maintenance Laws : The Basics

How Does Alimony Work In NY?


The law changes for all divorces filed on or after January 25, 2016.


For Information on the NEW LAW please

A common question is about New York Alimony Laws. We dont use the term alimony anymore, it has been replaced with Maintenance. So, when you ask about alimony you are really looking for information about Maintenance Law. To avoid confusion I will use both terms in this posting, as for practical purposes, they mean the same thing. We will sometimes refer to this as spousal support laws.

This is no easy way to say this, the Maintenance laws in New York are difficult and not easy to understand. First, we have something new: Temporary Maintenance. This temporary maintenance only occurs while the divorce is pending. Further, you must make a motion to the court and ask for it. Spousal support is not automatic. It is also not available in an uncontested divorce. .

Temporary maintenance is actually much easier to calculate than permanent maintenance .

1. Spouse has stolen $500,000 in marital assets. She is living with her boyfriend and doesnt work as she now pregnant with his child. The husband earns $100,000 a year. She probably wont get maintenance at the end of the divorce, however, while the divorce is pending the court will order $2,500 a month in temporary maintenance.

Maintenance at the end of the divorce.

Adding To And Subtracting From The Total Amount

In New York, judges have wide authority to add to or subtract from the value calculated. Unfortunately, these decisions are out of your hands. They rely solely on what the judge believes is fair. This is why you need a good lawyer on your side, to help argue in your favor.

Here are some other factors the court can consider when ruling on support.

Are There Any Other Situations That Would Result In The Automatic Termination Of Alimony

Yes. The death of the payor spouse, the death of the payee spouse, the remarriage of the payee spouse, the holding out as the spouse of another person.

Other situations would include an agreement regarding the duration of spousal support, when that agreement states that maintenance would automatically terminate. Or, in a judicial decision, the court says, You have spousal support for ten years from today, then it automatically terminates by itself on that date.

The automatic main terminations are when you or your spouse dies, or the remarriage of the payee spouse.

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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.

How Is Alimony Paid In New York

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The court usually orders the paying spouse to pay support periodically . Spouses can create an agreement for payment, like a monthly direct deposit, and the court will not interfere. However, in cases where the parties can’t agree on a payment method, the judge will usually create an income withholding order to ensure timely payments each month.

Income withholding allows the paying spouse’s employer to deduct the payments directly from employee wages and forward them to the recipient spouse. If a spouse fails to pay, the supported spouse can file a complaint with the court and request assistance collecting the past-due payments.

In some cases, parties will agree to a lump-sum payment of support, where the payor will provide the full amount of maintenance on a specific date. Lump-sum support is helpful for supported spouses because there’s no need to wait for a check every month. However, most couples aren’t in a financial position to provide a large sum at the end of a divorce.

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If You Have Children Calculate Maintenance In New York Using The Formula For Couples With Minor Children

Moving onto the formula. With minor children, the formula is similar, the percentages are just a little different.

With minor children, you take 25% of the lower-earning spouses net income. So here its $50,000. 25% of that is $12,500. Take 20% of the higher-earning spouses income. $100,000 times 20% equals $20,000. The difference is $7,500 . So you hold that number.

Then use the same Step 2 formula as above. You take the combined income of $150,000 times 40% equals $60,000. $60,000 minus the lower-earning spouses net income of $50,000 equals $10,000.

So in this example, the $7,500 is lower, so that is going to be the annual maintenance. $7,500 divided by 12 is $625 per month. That would be the monthly maintenance order in that case. Of course, the reason it is lower is because then you go on and calculate what the child support would be.

How Does Maintenance Work In New York

According to New York State law, the court may award spousal maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, to the lesser-monied or non-monied spouse during and following a divorce. The court will first apply the maintenance guidelines formula, and then will decide whether to deviate from that formula based on certain circumstances. In addition, the court will then determine how long maintenance will be paid, based on how long it will take the spouse to be self-supporting.

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How Long Do Alimony Payments Last

Alimony payments in most cases have a fixed payment schedule. Meaning they end after a specific number of years. In only very very rare cases are alimony payments awarded for life. The duration of the alimony payments is largely influenced by the length of the marriage. Here is the general framework:

  • 15 Years or Less: Between 15% and 30% of the total time you were married
  • 15 20 Years: Between 30% and 40% of the total time you were married
  • 20+ Years: between 35% 50% of the total time you were married

Similar to the additional factors that come into play in calculating the dollar amount of the alimony payments, those same factor may have an impact on the duration of the payments.

New York Alimony Law Summary

How to Calculate Permanent Spousal Support (Alimony) in California

How is Alimony Filed?

In the state of New York, a maintenance order, otherwise known as alimony, is based on a spouses duty to support the other after divorce when dependency has been established. An individual may file for alimony upon going through a divorce or legal separation, if they have become dependent on their spouse for the standard of living established during the course of the marriage, whether or not the alimony is decided in a court of law is dependent on several factors.

What Factors are Considered in Determining Alimony?

How does Custody Affect Alimony?

Custody of any children, and any child support required between parties of the divorce, are two other factors in the amount and consideration of alimony. If the spouse with custody of the children is unable to support themselves due to the children being of an age or condition that it hinders the individuals ability to support the child, such as if they must remain home to care for the child, it would severely influence the case for alimony to be received by the custodian of said child or children.

Can Other Factors Determine Alimony?

Any other factor the court deems relevant to the case, whether social or monetary, shall also be taken into consideration. In the end, if an agreement cannot be made between the two parties, alimony is awarded at the final judgment of the judge and court deciding the case.

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In New York Maintenance Is Calculated Pursuant To A Two

New York law provides guidelines outlining how much maintenance should be paid and for how long it should be paid for. New York courts are obligated to apply the maintenance guidelines unless the result of the calculation is unjust or inappropriate. What determines if the calculation is unjust is based on a number of factors such as age, health, future earning capacity, and the standard of living of the parties during the marriage.

In New York, maintenance is based on a formula. That formula is dependent on the parties incomes and if they have children, and its a two-part or two-step formula.

If youre confused about the process a divorce mediator in New York can help you with the calculations.

The formula itself is relatively simple. But I note that the issue of what the parties incomes actually are is where many of the issues are going to come up. For example, is someone running their own business? What are they actually making? Is someone not working up to their earning capacity? Should someone be working? Those sorts of issues are what couples tend to argue over.

Even though the maintenance formula is going to seem pretty simple to you, or relatively simple, know that there is a lot of room for argument in what someone should or should not pay. Im also talking about deviations, which can also be a source for argument or challenges to the amount of maintenance.

Determine How Long Maintenance Will Last In New York

Then, of course, everyone wants to know what the duration is. New York has guidelines as to the duration of maintenance as well. For marriages from 0 to 15 years, it is 15-30% of the duration of the marriage. If youve got a 10-year marriage, it would be 1.5 to 3 years of maintenance. If you have a 15-20-year marriage, it is 30-40% of the duration of the marriage. And more than 20 years, it is 35-50% of the duration of the marriage.

One thing to keep in mind with regard to all of the calculations is that they are all subject to deviation based on different factors. I mentioned them before, ages, health, contributions to the marriage, differences in earning capacities. There is also a catch-all, so the court can really take into consideration anything, so there is a lot of room for deviation, especially in higher-income cases.

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What Is Spousal Support

Usually, during and after a divorce, one spouse has to make payments to the other less-monied spouse. This is called alimony . Paying alimony restricts potential unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing steady support to the less-monied spouse. This ensures the less-monied spouse has the ability to maintain their standard of living until they reach a time where they can support themselves. The less-monied spouse is entitled to temporary and permanent spousal maintenance up to the income cap , unless the Court finds that the presumptive amount, which is based on a calculation, is unjust or inappropriate. In determining whether the presumptive amount is appropriate, the Court will consider the following in addition to their alimony calculator:

The above is a direct quote from New York Domestic Relations Law § 236 CAUTION: If you dont ask for spousal maintenance during the divorce proceeding, your New York Spousal Support Lawyer will not be allowed to request it after the case is over.

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How Do You Determine Alimony Amount

Understanding and Calculating Alimony in New Jersey

The guideline states that the paying spouses support be presumptively 40% of his or her net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiving spouses net monthly income. If child support is an issue, spousal support is calculated after child support is calculated.

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How Is Alimony Taxed

This recently changed. For all divorce agreements executed prior to December 31, 2018, alimony payments were tax deductible to the payor and were taxable income to the recipient. Included in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act that was signed into law in 2017, all divorce agreements executed after December 31, 2018, alimony payment will now be taxable to the payor and the recipient is no longer required to report alimony payments as taxable income.

While at first this might seem like a win to the spouse that is receiving the alimony payments, in reality both spouses lose some ground under the new tax rules. When you are dividing up marital assets and income, the idea is to make the pie as big as possible so there is more for everyone. The tax law change made the pie smaller because there are more taxes being take out of the total post-divorce income. The payor spouse not only has to claim all of the alimony payments as income but also when they starts filing their taxes as a single filer, their tax bill increases because the single filer brackets carry a higher tax burden than the married filing joint brackets.

In reaction to this tax law change, we have seen a few cases where couples have decided to file for legal separation instead of divorce, so they can continue to file a joint tax return while the alimony payments are being made to nullify the tax hit. But filing for legal separation instead of divorce can carry additional risks.

How Is The Amount Of Alimony Payments Determined

Unlike child support payments there really are no set guidelines for the amount and duration of alimony payments. To decide whether spousal support is appropriate, the judge will look at the needs of the spouse asking for support and whether the other spouse has the financial ability to provide financial help. For example, if your income is lower than your spouses but you are able to support yourself, you may not be entitled to alimony. The court will also look at other factors when making a decision about support:

  • the length of the marriage

  • each spouses age and health status

  • each spouses present and future earning capacity

  • the need of one spouse to incur education or training expenses

  • whether the spouse seeking maintenance is able to become self-supporting

  • whether caring for children inhibited one spouses earning capacity

  • equitable distribution of marital property, and

  • the contributions that one spouse has made as a homemaker in order to help enhance the other spouses earning capacity.

Michael Ruger

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There Are Three Types Of Maintenance In New York: Spousal Support Temporary Or Pendente Lite Maintenance And Post

There are three types of maintenance in New York. Theres spousal support, temporary or pendente litemaintenance, and post-divorce maintenance. All three of them are calculated pursuant to the same formula. The only difference is the timing of the payments.

Spousal support is pre-divorce maintenance. Maybe someone moves out of the marital residence, but theres no divorce filed. Maybe its a trial separation. Then the lower-earning spouse can go out and seek spousal support.

During the pendency of the divorce once a divorce has been filed then its called temporary or pendente lite maintenance.

Then after the divorce is over, its post-divorce maintenance.

Just different names, basically the same thing.

Are Alimony And Child Support The Same

How do New York courts determine the amount and length of spousal support?

No. Although both New York Alimony Law and New York Child Support Law are similar in that they are forms of payment made by one ex-spouse to the other during and after a divorce, they refer to different issues and are calculated differently. Alimony, or spousal maintenance, refers to payments made by one spouse to the other. Usually, the alimony payor, the spouse who pays alimony, is the person with the higher income. A New York spousal support lawyer will tell you that you dont need to have children in order to receive alimony payments. However, if you do have children, the amount of alimony you receive might be less if you receive payments for both spousal maintenance and child support. If applicable, a spousal support lawyer will take child support into account when computing with the alimony calculator for the Court.Generally, the parent, who does not have custody of the child, will pay child support to the custodial parent. Using a standard formula, the Court will calculate the amount of support either parent will pay. The amount paid is based on how much the parties earn in a year and on the number of children involved. A parents child support obligation is ongoing and paid periodically until the child reaches 21 years of age or is otherwise emancipated.

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New York Alimony Laws

New York Alimony laws are contained within Section 236 of the state’s Domestic Relations Law. Prior to 1980, New York made no legal provisions for the payment of maintenance or alimony by divorcing parties. However, in 1980, the state enacted a divorce code, which authorized New York courts to award alimony to either divorcing party only if the courts find that alimony is necessary.

New York alimony laws authorize the payment of alimony or maintenance to one divorcing party while the divorce proceedings continue and also after the finalization of proceedings. Under the alimony statutes, New York courts are permitted to award alimony if the dependent divorcing party lacks sufficient income and property to provide for basic needs and if the other party has sufficient property or income to meet the basic needs of the dependent party. In determining the duration and amount of maintenance or alimony, New York alimony laws require the court to consider:

Note that New York alimony laws are gender-neutral hence, either divorcing party may be eligible to receive alimony payments. The laws make no distinction between men and women and instead focus on who earns more money. In New York, alimony payments must be made in cash. Alternative forms of compensation, such as services or commodities, do not qualify since they are not made directly to the receiving divorcing party in cash.

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