New York Spousal Support: What May Change?


Spousal support, spousal maintenance, or alimony refers to payments one spouse makes to another either during or after a divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to allow one spouse to enjoy a standard of living after divorce that is similar to what was enjoyed during the marriage and to supplement the lower earning spouse’s ability to support himself or herself. Awards of spousal support during the divorce, also called temporary maintenance, help to limit any unfair economic imbalance between the spouses. Usually, the party seeking spousal support must demonstrate a need for this income, and the paying spouse must be financially able to pay spousal support.

Prior to 2010, the New York Courts simply considered many factors to calculate and determine spousal support, such as the length of the marriage, the parties incomes, their age, and education, among others.  In 2010, a temporary spousal support statute was passed which provided a formula to determine spousal support payments to be paid during the pendency of a divorce matter.   

On September 25, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that affects the state’s spousal support laws. The law goes into effect 120 days after the bill was signed into law, except that the temporary maintenance provisions go into effect 30 days after the governor signed, or for cases filed on or after October 25, 2015. 

First, the law changes the caps on income that are used when support is calculated. Under previous law, the cap on the paying spouse’s income was $543,000. Now, it will be $175,000.

The new law also clarifies that spousal support will terminate when the divorce is finalized or upon the death of either party, whichever occurs earlier. The new law also provides guidelines for the duration of spousal support. In addition the new law provides two formulas to use to calculate temporary and permanent spousal support: one if the paying spouse is the noncustodial parent, and a second if the paying spouse is the custodial parent or if there are no children.

In another column, we will go into more details as to the application of the spousal support formulas.

For any questions about how the spousal support formula may apply in your case and for a free case evaluation, contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971 today.  Sabra Law Group handles all aspects of divorce and family law matters. 


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