The Ins & Outs Of Spousal Maintenance In New York

Before we take a deeper dive into this topic, we need to clarify that we are using the words “maintenance, “spousal support,” and “alimony” interchangeably. Divorce laws differ by state. When your friends and family give you advice about your divorce, they may use any combination of those words. Although you may hear all three in New York, we use the term “maintenance.” One of the reasons why this area of divorce is so important is because if you are receiving it, it can be a financial lifeline. Those who are paying it will likely have to make some adjustments in their lives to account for it. 

Think about the moments after you realize your marriage is ending. Processing the end of a marriage is a significant hurdle to overcome, and you should strongly consider reaching out to a mental health professional to assist you. In addition, the world you have built for yourself is eroding. How are you going to keep up the payments on your house? Will you have to start over with retirement planning? Will there be enough money to pay the bills that you receive every month? Anyone who has been through it knows how overwhelming it is. Learning about the possibility of maintenance gives you some hope that you can support yourself financially. With that said, let’s go over how it works in New York.

The Basics of Maintenance

Knowing that you can receive maintenance during the divorce process is a relief. You may have heard stories of divorces lasting several years. Even if that happens (which is rare), you can still receive maintenance before your divorce is finalized. Calculating the amount you pay and receive is based on net income (the amount you are left with after taxes and deductions. Imagine that you make $100,000 after taxes, and your spouse makes $40,000. (We chose these numbers because they work well with the maintenance formula.) Here’s one of two ways it can be calculated:

  1. Take 20% of the payor’s annual net income ($20,000)
  2. Subtract 25% of the payee’s (person receiving the money) annual net income ($20,000 – $10,000 = $10,000)
  3. Divide by 12 to determine the monthly payments ($10,000 / 12 = $833.33)

Here’s another way it can be calculated using the same net income amounts:

  1. Take 40% of the combined net income ($56,000)
  2. Subtract the payee’s net income ($56,000 – $40,000 = $16,000)
  3. Divide by 12 to determine the monthly payments ($16,000 – 12 = $1333.33)

Speak to a Professional and Empathetic Family Law Attorney 

You may have noticed that the amounts were different! The truth is that these formulas merely estimate what you could pay or receive. Not only is alimony considered income, but the amount you pay or receive is going to have an impact on child support. Additionally, alimony is a factor that will be considered when dividing your assets. Don’t immediately jump to the larger amount and assume it is what you have to pay or what you are entitled to. 

We will work with you to help determine maintenance, child support, and how to divide your assets. All these factors play into one another, and we will guide you through them. Contact our office today to schedule your free phone consultation.

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Andrea L. Gamalski Attorneys at Law

Andrea L. Gamalski understands how important it is to have a compassionate and empathetic family law attorney who fights hard for their clients in the courtroom–mainly because she’s been one of these clients herself.

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