Change in Guidelines for Calculating Temporary Maintenance in New York

Rincker Law Family/Matrimonial Law Leave a Comment

Young couple in quarrel at home. Sitting on the couch

On September 25, 2015, New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed into effect legislation that has changed guidelines set for determining temporary spousal support. These guidelines for temporary maintenance go into effect October 26, 2015.
One of the major changes under the new bill is the reduction in the income cap from $543,000 to $175,000. Additionally, starting on January 31, 2016 and every two years after that, the income cap will increase by the “sum of the average annual percentage changes in the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) as published by the United States department of labor bureau of labor statistics for the prior two years multiplied by the then income cap and then rounded to the nearest one thousand dollars.” The other major change is the application of separate formulas in determining temporary maintenance depending on whether or not child support is being paid.

Where the payor’s income is lower than or equal to the income cap and child support will be paid in addition to temporary and the payor is the non-custodial parent, DRL §236 5-a(c)(1) states the formula used to determine temporary maintenance as follows:

(a) The court shall subtract twenty-five percent of the payee’s income from twenty percent of the payor’s income.
(b) The court shall then multiply the sum of the payor’s income and the payee’s income by forty percent.
(c) The court shall subtract the payee’s income from the amount derived from clause (b) of this subparagraph.
(d) The court shall determine the lower of the two amounts derived by clauses (a) and (c) of this subparagraph.
(e) The guideline amount of temporary maintenance shall be the amount determined by clause (d) of this subparagraph except that, if the amount determined by clause (d) of this temporary maintenance shall be zero dollars.
(f) Temporary maintenance shall be calculated prior to child support because the amount of maintenance shall be subtracted from the payor’s income and added to the payee’s income as part of the calculation of the child support obligation.

These new rules and calculations will apply to all matrimonial and Family Court actions for spousal support commenced on or after the effective date. Rincker Law, PLLC is prepared to help in navigating the new maintenance laws.

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