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On January 25, 2016, New York passed a spousal maintenance/alimony law that resulted in important changes to temporary spousal maintenance and divorce spousal maintenance.
Temporary spousal maintenance is issued when a divorce is pending, and post-divorce spousal maintenance will start after a divorce is granted. Before the new law was passed, there was not a formula for post-divorce maintenance that calculated the amount to be paid like temporary spousal maintenance. The new law now has a formula for both post-divorce and temporary spousal maintenance. However, the formula included in the new law is only to be used as a guideline, so a judge can adjust the amount to be paid, which is usually based on several elements.
The formula is complex, but there are a few important factors that can help an individual better understand support calculations:
There are two different formulas that are used based on a certain situations. The first formula is used when individuals are also making child support payments, and the second formula is used when individuals receive child support payments or do not make child support payments. In most cases, the calculated results will be lower when an individual also makes child support payments, which is because the Court will recognize that an individual will have less money for spousal maintenance if he or she is also making child support payments.
There is an income cap in the formula that is $175,000. If an individual’s income is more than the capped amount, then $175,000 will be used to calculate the payments. However, every two years the consumer price index can cause the income cap to fluctuate. In addition, the Court can use the payment calculations from the capped amount and award additional spousal support in certain situations.
Temporary maintenance will end when the divorce is final or when one of the spouses dies. In addition, the Court also has the ability to deny temporary spousal support payment requests and issue temporary maintenance to end before the divorce is final. However, temporary spousal support that ends before a divorce is final is usually due to the divorce taking an unusually long time to finalize.
If temporary or post-divorce spousal maintenance is issued, the individual receiving the support can choose to opt-out, which must be stated in a written agreement. In some cases, spouses choose this option if they have amicably came to an agreement that is different than what the Court suggested.
There is also a formula that determines the length of time for post-divorce support payments:
1. When the length of the union was from 0 to 15 years, the length of support payments will be 15% to 30% of the duration of the marriage.
2. When the length of the union was between 15 and 20 years, the length of the support payments will be 30% to 40% of the duration of the marriage.
3. When the length of the union was more than 20 years, the length of support payments will be 35% to 50% of the duration of the marriage.
However, it is important to note the Court has the ability to deviate from the formula based on several elements.
If you are getting a divorce, you may have several questions about maintenance. To learn how temporary and post-divorce maintenance will influence your divorce, get in touch with an experienced family attorney who serves Manhattan. A skilled attorney who has experience with divorces that involve temporary and post-divorce maintenance can provide you with all the information you need.