New York Enacts New Temporary Maintenance Guidelines

New York’s Temporary Maintenance Guidelines law became effective on October 12, 2010.  The new law provides that maintenance is to be awarded during the divorce when one parties’ income is less than 2/3 of the other spouse’s income.  The law provides a fix formula for awarding temporary maintenance: the lesser of (1) Thirty percent of the higher-earning spouse’s income, minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s income or (2) Forty percent of their combined income, minus the lower-earning spouse’s income.  If the Court finds this award unjust, as determined from this formula, it can be changed.  The Court has the right to make a durational temporary maintenance award which ceases prior to the end of the case or death. This law will allow for a speedy resolution of maintenance issues that clog NY Family Courts.  NY Law

Although many believe this new maintenance law will relieve many of the problems surrounding temporary maintenance, others believe that this new formula will manifest a host of problems.  The new law caps maintenance as $500,000.  This means that the maximum temporary maintenance award is $150,000 per year or $2,885 per week when one spouse earns $500,000 and the other spouse has no income.  This may have major implications for individuals whose spouses earn well over $500,000, and who are accustomed to a much higher lifestyle.  The purpose of maintenance is to provide payments, while taking into consideration the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.  If an individual is accustomed to living off of a $1,000,000 salary, then capping temporary maintenance at $500,000 will prove to be inconsistent with the underlying purpose of maintenance.  It will be interesting to see the impact the new maintenance law will have and the reviews it will get from couples going through divorce.

The attorneys at Leeds, Morelli & Brown, P.C. are experienced in all domestic relations matters, and have represented families in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island.  For any questions concerning domestic relations matters, contact an attorney at the Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C. law firm for a free consultation at 1-888-556-2529.  Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C.’s divorce website is located at