New York’s Temporary Maintenance Law

New York’s Temporary Maintenance Law:

The new temporary maintenance law became effective in New York on October 12, 2010.   The new law provides a fixed formula for awarding temporary maintenance (in New York alimony is termed “maintenance”).  Temporary maintenance is also called “durational” or “periodic” maintenance.  There are several other types of maintenance awards, including permanent maintenance and  rehabilitative maintenance.  The bill only addresses temporary maintenance and does not really make any changes to final awards for permanent maintenance.  In the state of New York the duration of the temporary maintenance will be determined by the length of the marriage.

The formula provides that temporary maintenance should be the lesser of:

1)  Thirty percent of the higher-earning spouse’s income, minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s income.

2) Forty percent of their combined income, minus the lower-earning spouse’s income.

The law applies to the first $500,000 of income, the spouse of a high earner may actually be forced to live in a lesser lifestyle.   Under the prior law, the full income would be used for determining temporary maintenance.   However, a judge may consider “additional factors” when calculating temporary maintenance requirements. In addition, The amount may be adjusted in instances where the paying spouse has an income greater than $500,000. In adjusting a presumptive award that is unjust or inappropriate, the court must consider the following factors:

  • the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
  • the age and health of the parties;
  • the earning capacity of the parties;
  • the need of one party to incur education or training expenses;
  • the wasteful dissipation of marital property;
  • the transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration;
  • the existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or a pre-divorce separate household;
  • acts by one party against another that have inhibited or continue to inhibit a party’s earning capacity or ability to obtain meaningful employment. such acts include but are not limited to acts of domestic violence as provided in section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law;
  • the availability and cost of medical insurance for the parties;
  • the care of the children or stepchildren, disabled adult children or stepchildren, elderly parents or in-laws that has inhibited or continues to inhibit a party’s earning capacity or ability to obtain meaningful employment;
  • the inability of one party to obtain meaningful employment due to age or absence from the workforce;
  • the need to pay for exceptional additional expenses for the child or children, including, but not limited to, schooling, day care and medical treatment;
  • the tax consequences to each party;
  • marital property subject to distribution pursuant to subdivision five of this part;
  • the reduced or lost earning capacity of the party seeking tempo- rary maintenance as a result of having foregone or delayed education, training, employment or career opportunities during the marriage;
  • the contributions and services of the party seeking temporary maintenance as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker and to the career or career potential of the other party; and
  • any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.

Temporary Maintenance Calculator:

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