Maintenance, sometimes called alimony or spousal support, is court- ordered payments from one former spouse to the other following the divorce. In New York, spousal maintenance is usually ordered for a limited time. Temporary spousal maintenance may be ordered during the divorce proceedings, before the case is finalized.
The court determines maintenance by looking at both party’s incomes separately. If both parties make less than $524,000, no additional factors are considered. The party who earns a higher income is the payor, and the party who receives the maintenance is the payee. The court uses a mathematical formula to determine the amount of maintenance owed; the maintenance calculator utilized by all New York courts can be found at http://www.nycourts.gov/divorce/calculator.pdf.
Here are some examples of maintenance orders when both parties make less than $524,000:
Payor Income Payee Income Annual Maintenance from Payor to Payee
$30,000 $15,000 $3,000
$50,000 $30,000 $2,000
$80,000 $50,000 $2,000
$90,000 $60,000 $0
$100,000 $55,000 $7,000
When one or both spouses earns more than $524,000, the court considers the 19 additional factors based on the income above $524,000. These factors are: the length of the marriage; the difference between the parties’ incomes; the standard of living established for the couple during the marriage; the present and future earning capacities of both parties; the need for either party to incur education or vocational training expenses; the wasting of any marital property; any transfer of property made to avoid its inclusion in the divorce process; the existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or pre-divorce separate households; any acts by one party to inhibit the earning capacity of the other, including acts of domestic violence; whether either party has medical insurance; the care of children, other dependents, or elderly parents or in-laws that inhibits one party’s earning capacity; the inability of one party to secure gainful employment due to age or prolonged absence from the workforce; any exceptional additional expenses related to the children, including school, day care, and medical care; the tax consequences to each party; the value of marital property that is subject to distribution; the reduced or lost earning capacity of the party seeking temporary maintenance due to foregone or delayed education, training, or career opportunities during the marriage; the contributions of the party seeking temporary maintenance as a spouse, parent, wage earning and homemaker to the career and career potential of the other party; and any other factor that the court wishes to consider.