Maintenance is a periodic payment made to the lower income spouse by the greater earning spouse (the “monied spouse”) for his or her support. When these payments are made during a divorce litigation or even during divorce negotiations, the payments are called “temporary maintenance”. If the court or the parties determine there to be a disparity in incomes between spouses, the New York State maintenance guidelines say that temporary maintenance should be paid during the action and that final maintenance will be paid after settlement or trial.

The dependent spouse will usually be deemed eligible for maintenance. Since 2016, when the current law governing maintenance awards was enacted, maintenance has been determined based upon a complex calculation using various factors such as the parties’ respective incomes, the presence of the children of the marriage in one party’s home, and other factors. The income of the monied spouse, when calculating maintenance, is currently capped at $184,000 per year. The formula for determining maintenance uses two equations; the equation that produces the lower number becomes the presumptively correct maintenance amount to be awarded. For your convenience, we have provided a link herein to the New York State Maintenance and Child Support Calculator for your use and information.

It is important to note that the maintenance calculations are not absolute. The law allows the Court a certain amount of leeway to alter from the formula by considering numerous factors which could result in the presumptive maintenance obligation being raised or lowered by the court. Similarly, the length of time to which a dependent spouse will be entitled to receive maintenance is, to some level, at the discretion of the court. Although the maintenance guidelines provide suggestions for the length of maintenance awards, the court can consider various factors in either extending the term or shortening the term that has been suggested by the guidelines.

We know very well that all of this information is extremely confusing.  Maintenance is an extremely sensitive, complex, important and, potentially life changing issue.  A client is not expected to understand how maintenance works or is calculated.  Steven E. Shumer, Heath S. Berger and the legal team at Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP, are educated and experienced in the complex maintenance guidelines and calculations and can assist you by explaining how the maintenance obligation may or will be enforced in your specific case. Feel free to contact us for a Free Consultation at 1-800-806-1136.

The matrimonial team at Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler & Goodman, LLP is here to help you.