Barclay Damon
Barclay Damon

New Spousal Maintenance (Support) Guidelines in New York

by: Caitlyn S. Shank


New York State legislature enacted a major revision to New York’s Domestic Relations Laws regarding spousal maintenance.  The new law applies to all divorce actions filed after January 25, 2016.  The key provisions of the new law are as follows:

  1. Temporary maintenance (paid while a divorce is pending in court) is now calculated using a formula as opposed to a discretionary basis.

  2. For purposes of applying the formula, income will be capped at $178,000, reduced from $543,000 under the prior guidelines.

  3. The courts maintain discretion to deviate from the temporary maintenance guidelines if the judge determines the spousal support to be unjust or inappropriate.

  4. The courts consider many factors when determining post-divorce maintenance, including but not limited to the income and property of both spouses, length of marriage, age and health of both spouses, the ability of the receiving spouses to become self-supporting, and waste of property by either spouse.

  5. The duration of maintenance is based on the length of the marriage; however, the court still has the discretion to deviate from these guidelines based upon 15 factors.

 The new guidelines also eliminated a spouse’s enhanced earning capacity and no longer considers a professional license/degree to be a marital asset subject to equitable distribution.