Known as “maintenance” in New York, alimony is the financial support that one spouse may be required to pay to another spouse in the event of a divorce. It consists of monetary payments made at fixed intervals, such as weekly or monthly, for a specific period of time as designated by the court. Since it is intended to provide support to a spouse, maintenance is usually paid by the spouse who was the breadwinner in the arrangement to the spouse who earned less money and, thus, is in need of financial support.
While the court is still required to follow the applicable formula to determine the base amount of maintenance regardless, it may also award an additional amount of maintenance if the paying spouse’s income is above the aforementioned income cap. In order to determine just how much maintenance beyond the base amount should be granted, the court will consider a number of factors, including:
There is one situation, however, where the amount of maintenance is not based on the paying spouse’s income. If the paying spouse fails to provide the court with adequate evidence of their total current income, then the court can base the amount of maintenance on the receiving spouse’s financial needs or their standard of living prior to the divorce, whichever is higher.
When the court determines how much maintenance should be paid, it will also determine how long the maintenance will last. If the maintenance is temporary, then it will likely end when the court issues the final divorce decree or in the event that one of the spouses dies before the divorce is finalized. Otherwise, how long the maintenance lasts generally depends on how long the marriage lasted. New York state law provides guidelines for the length of maintenance through a set percentage range based on the length of a marriage:
The court does not need to follow these guidelines when determining the duration of the maintenance. If the court chooses to not follow the duration guidelines, then it will need to consider the same factors it needs to consider for providing a larger amount of maintenance than the base amount. Also, maintenance may end before the original termination date set by the court if:
In order to petition for maintenance, even temporary maintenance, you will need to start the divorce process. This means that you will need to file a Summons with Notice or a Summons with a Verified Complaint. Regardless of which set of documents you choose to file, you will need to include a request for maintenance in the Ancillary or Other Relief section of the documents. Once you have filed the initial divorce documents, you will need to serve them to your spouse along with a Notice of Guideline Maintenance. After you have served the filed paperwork to your spouse, you will need to complete an Annual Income Worksheet and a Maintenance Guidelines Worksheet to show the court what your current financial state is and why you need maintenance. These worksheets will also help the court to calculate just how much maintenance you will need. Making a mistake on any of this paperwork may result in you not receiving any alimony, which is why it may be in your best interest to hire a lawyer to help you with filling out the paperwork because they can help you avoid making any mistakes when filling out the paperwork and petitioning for maintenance.
Getting maintenance can be critical in whether you can continue to live as you have been living or if you will be struggling to live paycheck to paycheck. Thus, it is important that you do not make any mistakes when petitioning for maintenance. Contact a New York divorce lawyer to help you petition for maintenance and help you avoid mistakes.
Last Modified: 05-24-2017 04:05 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.