Calculating Spousal Maintenance in Westchester
When a couple goes through a divorce, it can have a large economic impact on both spouses and it can particularly impact the lower-earning spouse hard. In addition to property settlements that divide the marital estate, maintenance is used to provide support to the less affluent spouse after a divorce.
On issues about maintenance, compassionate lawyers understand how difficult a divorce can be for families. Our lawyers understand this challenge not only emotionally, but financially. We work hard to assist people in calculating spousal maintenance in Westchester.
Factors Impacting Spousal Support Amounts
The law on maintenance in New York is in a state of development. Rules that went into effect in early 2016, set forth certain formulas that courts must make up to a certain threshold of income (currently $184,000). Calculating spousal maintenance in Westchester is different depending on whether or not the payor is also paying child support. If there is income above the threshold amount, there are 15 factors that a court must consider in determining how much, if any, additional maintenance should be granted.
Maintenance duration – the number of years of maintenance that will be awarded – is now also subject to advisory guidelines. Those guidelines specify a duration based on the length of the marriage as follows:
|Length of Marriage||Duration of Maintenance|
|0-15 years||15% to 30% of the length of the marriage|
|15-20 years||30% to 40%|
|Over 20 years||35% to 50%|
Other Circumstances Considered
A judge has the discretion to vary the amount and the duration of the award.
Some of the factors that a court can consider in determining maintenance on income over the threshold include:
- The age and health of the parties
- Each spouse’s earning potential
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage, both monetarily and non-monetarily (such as in the case of a homemaker)
- Needs of a spouse to obtain training or education and related expense
- The potential to become self-supporting for the spouse who seeks maintenance
Analyzing these elements ideally results in a support award that is fair and manageable to both parties. In addition, there are specific formulas that can be used to help calculate the amount of maintenance that should be paid. However, the court still has wide discretion over the amount of the ultimate award.
Spousal maintenance may not be awarded in all divorce cases. It is within the court’s discretion to determine whether or not to award support. If both spouses have remained active in the workforce and earned relatively equal salaries throughout the marriage, it is unlikely that maintenance would be deemed necessary.
New York Maintenance statute is crystal clear that people can determine a maintenance amount and duration that works for them on any criteria that makes sense.
Termination or Modification of Maintenance
Maintenance likely terminates after the passage of a predetermined period of time or upon the occurrence of certain events including death or remarriage of the recipient. If both parties agree on a predetermined date when maintenance terminates, this date will determine when spousal support obligations end. If a court makes an award of maintenance, it will also likely award it for a period of time rather than indefinitely. So-called non-durational maintenance is rare.
Modification of an existing maintenance award may be sought by either party when there has been a significant change in circumstances. Absent an agreement between the parties, a party must file a petition with the court outlining the alleged change in circumstances in order to modify a support order.
Seeking spousal maintenance during or after a divorce can be a complex and delicate matter. However, the assistance of a seasoned attorney in Westchester may make the process more manageable for you—not only with calculating support itself but also with other issues in a divorce such as child custody or property settlements.
Call Our Maintenance Attorneys Today
Our commitment does not end with your final judgment, we stand ready to answer questions and assist you with any matters that may arise post-judgment. If you need help with financial concerns during or after a divorce, our spousal maintenance attorneys are available today to schedule an appointment and help you start exploring your options. Calculating spousal maintenance in Westchester can be a complex issue, which is why seeking legal counsel is vital if you are in the process of a divorce.