There is a new law for for post-divorce maintenance which will apply to all New York divorces filed on or after January 25, 2016. Instead of the 20 factors used for pre-2016 divorces, the New York legislature has given us a simple calculation.
First, we determine if there will be child support paid. If not, we use the following calculation. First, we determine who makes more money. All money from all sources is considered. We multiply 30% against the higher earner’s income (called the “payor.”) Then we multiply 20% against the lower earner’s income (called the “payee”). Next we subtract the payee’s income from the payor’s income. This provides calculation “A”. But we don’t stop there.
Next, we add both incomes together and multiply that sum by 40%. Then we subtract the payee’s income from that amount. This is calculation “B”.
The lower of Calculation “A” or Calculation “B” will be the amount the payor must pay to the payee.
The wife earns $10,485.11 a month and the husband earns $3750 per month.
- 30% * 10,485.11 = $3,145.53 : We multiply the payor’s income by 30%
- 20% * 3750 = $750 : We multiply the payee’s income by 20%
- $3,145.53 – $750 = $2,395.53 : We subtract and get Calculation “A”
- $10,485.11 + $3750 = $14,235.11 : We add both incomes
- 40% * $14,235.11 = $5,694.04 : We multiply the sum of the incomes by 40%
- $5,694.04 – $3750 =$1,994.04 : We subject the payee’s income from that number
Since $1,994.04 is less than $2,395.53, the wife will have to pay to the husband the amount of $1,994.04 per month. We have used in the example the wife as the payor to underscore the point that this statute is gender neutral. Husbands don’t as a rule pay wives. The rule is that the person with the larger income, regardless of sex pays the spouse with the lower income.
We also use this calculation where the payor spouse is also the custodial parent. In the above example, the wife is both the payor and the custodial parent, and such while she will be receiving child support, she will also be paying post-divorce maintenance.
Now, let’s look at what happens when there is child support involved. We’ll now address the situation when the payee spouse is also receiving child support. In this case, Calculation B remains the same, but Calculation “A” changes. Instead of the payor’s income being multiplied by 30%, it is multiplied only by 25%:
- $10,485.11 * .25 = $2,521.28
- 20% * $3,750 = $750
- $2,521.28 – 750 = $1,771.28
In this example, since the wife will be paying child support to the husband, Calculation “A” is now $1,771.28 and is now lower than Calculation “B”. Therefore, the wife will only have to pay $1,771.27 instead of $1,994.04. In this example we’ve also had the father as the custodial parent. We did this to point out that mothers do not automatically get the children. Fathers can and do get awarded custody.
The court will then apply advisory guidelines on how long the post-divorce maintenance will last.
Between zero and 15 years of marriage: 15% – 30%
Between 15 and 20 years of marriage: 30% – 40%
More than 20 years of marriage: 35% – 50%
If the parties were married for 7 years, then the court could order anywhere between one and two years of support. For a couple married 20 years the court could order between six and eight years of support.