A Closer Look at New York’s New Maintenance Law – Part 2: Applying New York’s New Temporary Maintenance Law

This is the second in a series of articles about New York’s new maintenance law.  So far we have discussed that New York’s new temporary maintenance law has two variations, which depend on whether or the payor will be paying child support.  In this post we will apply the formulas that I have written to put the temporary maintenance guidelines into convenient math equations.

The new temporary maintenance guidelines are somewhat confusing, and they read like a common core math problem.  In order to simplify the guidelines for my own use, I have reduced the wordy formulas in the Domestic Relations Law to simple math formulas, like the old-fashion ones I learned in math class back in the 1980s.  This has helped me apply the guidelines.

First, we have our definitions.  The “Payor” is the party who has the higher income.  The “Payee” is the party with the lower income.  Then, we have our terms.  A = The payor’s income.  B = The payee’s income.  C = The parties’ total income (A + B = C).  M = the amount of maintenance.

The temporary maintenance guidelines apply to only the first $175,000 of the parties’ combined income.  If you are above the cap, congratulations.  If you are like nine in ten New Yorkers and your joint household income is less than $175,000, you need not worry about the income cap.

In cases where the payor will be paying child support, the two ways to calculate temporary maintenance are as follows.

.2A – .25B = M

.4C – B = M

For those of you who do not like math, I assure you that these formulas are simpler than it may look.  Here is a simple example using these formulas.  Assume that Payor earns $50,000 per year and payee earns $20,000.

A = 50,000

B = 20,000

C = 70,000

First method:

.2(50,000) – .25(20,000) = M

10,000 – 5,000 = 5000

Second method:

.4(70,000) – 20,000 = M

28,000 – 20,000 = 8,000

5000 is less than 8000, so the guideline amount of temporary maintenance would be $5000.

In cases where the payor will not be paying child support, the two ways to calculate temporary maintenance are as follows.

.3A – .2B = M

.4C – B = M

Here is a simple example using these formulas.  Let us again assume that Payor earns $50,000 per year and payee earns $20,000.

First Method:

.3(50,000) – .25(20,000) = M

15,000 – 5,000 = 10,000

Second Method:

.4(70,000) -20,000 = M

28,000-20,000 = 8,000

8000 is less than 10,000, so the guideline amount of temporary maintenance where there is no child support would be $8000.

Once the court has calculated the guideline amount of support, then the court must determine if it is going to deviate from the guideline amount.  Deviations from the guideline amount are the subject of my next post.

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