Spousal Support

June 18, 2018

Persons who are legally married are required to provide financial support for each other. If a married person divorces in New York State the higher earning spouse may be required to pay maintenance (spousal support) to the lower earning spouse, for a specified period of time, to assist the lower earning spouse become financially independent post-divorce.

The New York State legislature in 2015 revised the maintenance law and created a maintenance calculator to calculate the amount of temporary spousal maintenance that should be paid to the lower earning souse for the duration of time that a divorce is pending in court and a calculator for post-divorce spousal maintenance which would be paid after a divorce has been granted.

The court is required to follow a formula to determine the presumptively correct amount unless the court determines the formula is unjust or inappropriate, based on the Temporary Spousal Maintenance Factors and/or Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance Factors (insert links) listed below. In mediation the parties are free to follow the courts calculator and recommendations or their own formula, amount, length of time etc.

Maintenance ends on the death of either spouse, the remarriage of the spouse receiving support (payee) or any date specified by the spouses in a legally binding agreement or as ordered by the judge.  The court refers to an advisory schedule to determine the length of time that maintenance is paid for:


0 – 15 years 15% – 30% of length of marriage

15 – 20 years 30% – 40% of length of marriage

More than 20 years 35% – 50% of length of marriage


The court also considers, when determining duration, anticipated retirement assets, benefits, and retirement eligibility age of both spouses.