Spousal Support


There is an obligation in New York to financially support your spouse if there is a need. On January 23, 2016, New York State passed a new law regarding maintenance/spousal support (alimony). Alimony in the Supreme Court divorce proceedings is called maintenance. Alimony now is calculated based on a mathematical formula of the parties’ income. The new law also provides Supreme Court Judges in divorce matters with guidance over the duration period of alimony. For marriages of 15 years or less the alimony obligation is 15% to 30% of the length of the marriage; for marriages of 15 years to 20 years the alimony obligation is 30% to 40% the length of the marriage; and for marriages that are over 20 years the alimony obligation is between 35% to 50% the length of the marriage. For example, alimony for a 16-year marriage is between 4 years and 10 months to 6 years and 5 months.

However, there are certain factors the court may consider instead of just blindly applying the formula for alimony. For instance, if the parties are separated for a long time the attorney for the mooned spouse may argue that the court should not order any alimony because the parties are financially independent. 

Spousal Support in Family Court

Did you know that the court can issue an order of spousal support while the parties are still married? In Family Court alimony is called spousal support. If the parties are married the less mooned spouse may file a petition in family court for spousal support. Unlike divorce court, family court orders for spousal support last indefinitely. If a spouse obtains an order of spousal support from family court, the payor should file for divorce in order to have a cutoff date on the order of support.

When the spousal support/maintenance law was enacted on January 23, 2016, it took into consideration tax deductions. Spousal support/maintenance orders were tax deductible to the payer and considered income to the payee. However, federal income tax law was changed in which orders for spousal support/maintenance made after December 31, 2018 are no longer tax deductible. Therefore, it is important to have a skilled attorney negotiate the amount of spousal support/maintenance.

Divorce can have a huge financial impact on both parties, so it is important that you work with a skilled and experienced attorney. For more information on how to obtain an order of spousal support/maintenance or how to protect yourself from paying spousal support/maintenance call our office to schedule a strategy session. 

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