The Spousal Maintenance Formula

Long Island Matrimonial & Family Law
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The presumptively correct amount of annual maintenance or spousal support is the lower result of two mathematical formulas. In cases where the monied spouse is the non-custodial parent, the court subtracts 25% of the payee’s income from 20% of the payor’s income and then compares that result with a second formula in which the payee’s income is subtracted from 40% of the parties’ combined incomes.

In cases where the monied spouse is also the custodial parent, the first of the two formulas is different. In such a case the court subtracts 20% of the payee’s income from 30% of the payor’s income. Again, the lesser of that formula and the second formula in which the payee’s income is subtracted from 40% of the combined income of the parties, is the annual maintenance obligation of the monied spouse. The presumptively correct annual maintenance, unless rebutted by the application of one or more factors, is made payable in periodic payments usually aligned with the pay periods of the payor spouse.

The income figures used for these equations is the same income used in the calculation of child support— gross income as was reported for the previous year or should have been reported for the previous year, less deductions for FICA tax (Social Security and Medicare tax). Other deductions that apply in the determination of a party’s income for calculation of child support include unreimbursed employee business expenses, maintenance paid to a former spouse, child support ordered and paid in another case, public assistance, SSI, and New York City or Yonkers income taxes.