Divorce is a difficult time in a person’s life. Not only is it the end of a relationship, but now also a stressful time when a person needs to figure out how they will maintain their lifestyle without a spouse to supplement work and income. What is important to know is that legislation recently amended the Domestic Relations Law, which pertains to family court and monetary compensation after divorce. The bill was signed into law this year, on September 25th, 2015 by Governor Cuomo.

Once known as alimony prior to 1980, maintenance is the sum of money paid by one spouse to another for support. The amended law states that there is a new 20-factor formula that the court can use to determine the amount of maintenance that can or should be awarded to one spouse by the other. They will take into account factors such as child support that is currently being paid, or will need to be paid, and current and supplemental income.

A new provision of this law states that if child support is going to be awarded, the sum of maintenance paid to the spouse receiving child support is added back to that spouse’s income for purposes of computing the maintenance formula. The statute is gender neutral, and the parties may still agree to deviate from the formula provided their agreement is in writing. The court may also deviate from the formula if the court finds that the application of such would be unjust or inappropriate.
Maintenance is a way to make sure people are taken care of following a divorce, since the loss of income could dramatically affect a person’s lifestyle, depending on each unique situation. Generally speaking, the longer a marriage is, the longer amount of time maintenance is ordered to be paid. The payments end when the payee gets remarried, or one of the spouses passes away. While rare, it is possible that permanent maintenance is ordered by the court. The Internal Revenue Code provides that maintenance paid by one spouse to another is deductible by the payor and income to the payee.

If you are going through a divorce, you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today to help you straighten out legalities and get you through this trying time.