How Is Alimony Calculated in New York?

Post-divorce, ex-partners’ financial positions impact the life they will now lead. To ensure both parties leave the marriage in a good financial situation, spousal maintenance (also referred to as alimony) may be awarded to one party.

While you are getting divorced, one party may be awarded temporary maintenance. In this article, we will be discussing how post-divorce maintenance is calculated.

Calculating the Amount of Spousal Maintenance Awarded

Post-divorce maintenance can be determined by the divorcing parties in a settlement agreement; if the couple cannot agree, a court order determines the amount of alimony awarded to one spouse.

Maintenance is determined by a two-part formula (see this maintenance worksheet). Even with the formula, calculating alimony is not an easy feat. And if children are involved, there are different determinations. If no children are involved, post-maintenance can be determined by first:

  • Calculating what the maintenance payor’s income is multiplied by 20%
  • Multiplying the maintenance recipient’s income by 25%
  • Subtracting the second result from the first (i.e., maintenance recipient’s income multiplied by 25% minus payor’s income multiplied by 20%)
  • Save the answer to the previous calculation

The next part of the formula asks you to:

  • Add the maintenance payor’s income and the recipient’s income together
  • Take that total and multiply it by 40%
  • Subtract the multiplied combined income by the recipient’s income

The calculated guideline amount is whichever result (from the two separate calculation steps) is the lowest. For example, in the first set of calculations, the result is $10,000. Then, the second set of calculations yields the amount of $16,000. The calculated amount is $10,000.

Determining Alimony in Divorces Involving Children

As previously mentioned, alimony is determined differently depending on whether there are children involved. To calculate spousal maintenance in these cases, you would follow the same steps mentioned above (in cases not involving children). However, in the first set of calculations, the percentage you multiply by is different:

  • You would multiply the payor’s income by 30%
  • You would then multiply the recipient’s income by 20%

Other Considerations in Determining Alimony Payments

In some instances, a judge may feel that the alimony calculated is unjust. This decision will be based on a variety of factors (i.e., how the property was divided, tax considerations, child support, health concerns).

Spousal maintenance may only be allocated for a specific period. The length of the marriage typically affects the duration of the payments.

Spousal support is a complex legal issue, but again, it is designed to ensure both spouses leave the marriage financially secure. If you are going through a divorce and wondering how spousal maintenance will be calculated in your specific case, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Need the support of an experienced alimony attorney? At Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys, our legal team is dedicated to helping our clients navigate their divorce and receive a fair outcome. To contact our office for a consultation, please complete our online contact form or call at (718) 215-0121.