New York's Temporary Maintenance Law: Did the New Law Create More Problems Then It Solved?


The new temporary maintenance law became effective in New York on October 12, 2010. The new law provides a fixed formula for awarding temporary maintenance (in New York alimony is termed “maintenance”).

The formula provides that temporary maintenance should be the lesser of:

1) Thirty percent of the higher-earning spouse’s income, minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s income.

2) Forty percent of their combined income, minus the lower-earning spouse’s income.

Until the enactment of this law, judges had discretion to set temporary awards based upon the actual needs of the parties. Temporary maintenance was awarded to enable the economically dependent spouse to maintain the marital lifestyle during the divorce action. The awards were often inconsistent and lacked predictability.

The new formalistic approach brings consistency and predictability, but at what cost?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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