Newly Enacted Guidelines for Spousal Maintenance

A newly enacted set of guidelines for spousal maintenance have established regulations for the awarding of maintenance payments, both temporary and post-divorce. The legislation defines how an award is calculated, the maximum amount that can be awarded, and the duration of the payment.

Calculating Maintenance

Maintenance awards will be determined based upon the payor's income, with a cap at $175,000 annually. If the payor will also be paying child support, the award will be determined based on the lower of the following two amounts:

  • 20% of the payor's income, minus 25% of the payee's income
  • 40 % of the sum of the payor's income and the payee's income, minus the payee's income

If the payor will not be paying child support, the award will be determined based on the lower of the following two amounts:

  • 30% of the payor's income, minus 20% of the payee's income
  • 40 % of the sum of the payor's income and the payee's income, minus the payee's income

If the payor's income exceeds $175,000, or the award is being adjusted, the court must consider the following factors to determine the award:

  • Age and health of both parties
  • Earning capacity of both parties
  • Whether or not one party needs education or training
  • Whether or not the maintenance award was initially calculated based upon a child support payment, which has since been terminated
  • The transfer or spending of marital property in anticipation of divorce
  • The length of time that the household has been established and/or separated
  • Acts of one party against the other, such as domestic violence, that inhibit his or her earning capacity
  • Medical insurance availability and costs for both parties
  • A party's care of children, stepchildren, disabled adult children, or elderly parents that inhibits his or her earning capacity
  • Taxes for both parties
  • Standard of living established throughout the duration of the marriage
  • Whether or not one party gave up or delayed educational or career opportunities during the marriage
  • Equitable distribution of marital property
  • Contributions of one party to the career or potential of the other party

Duration of Maintenance

The length of time over which post-divorce maintenance must be paid will be determined according to the length of the marriage. Marriages lasting fewer than 15 years will yield a payment duration equal to 15-30% of the length of the marriage. Maintenance payments after marriages of 15-20 years will last as long as 30-40% of the marriage's duration. Any marriage lasting longer than 20 years will yield maintenance payment durations of 35-50% of the marriage length.

A maintenance payment will be effective until the ordered duration has elapsed, the payee remarries, or either party dies. When determining duration of maintenance, the court will also consider whether either party is eligible for retirement and any anticipated retirement benefits or assets that may affect the income of either party.

Call (631) 731-1042 for More Information

To learn more about the newly enacted guidelines and how they may affect your case, contact a member of our team to schedule a consultation. Our Suffolk County divorce attorney will evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options for moving forward.

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