Spousal Maintenance Part 4 – Calculations
New York State provides formulas and guidelines to help divorcing couples (and the associated courts) navigate whether spousal maintenance will be paid, and if so, how much.
If either temporary or post-divorce spousal maintenance is to be paid, the first step is agree on an amount.
Coming to Agreement on TSM or SM
As explained in my Temporary Spousal Maintenance and Spousal Maintenance articles, spouses can form their own private settlement agreements. The amount of either type of spousal maintenance in that agreement can differ from the presumptive amount that would have been set according to the NYS guidelines. However, be aware there are conditions to private arrangements. If they are not followed, then the agreement is unenforceable.
If the court is involved in determining either TSM or SM, then it will start with the guideline amount. The guideline calculations, however, do not take into account many factors that are important to consider. Those factors are assessed separately by the courts, who may award an amount different than the calculated guideline amount. If that’s the case, the court will document its reasons in the Judgment of Divorce.
NOTE: Please consult your professional advisers concerning whether the Tax Cuts and Job Act (TCJA) federal law in effect on Jan 1, 2019 affects your situation. See Spousal Maintenance Part 3 – Post-Divorce.
“NYS alimony tax laws changing in 2019“
NYS Spousal Maintenance Calculators
NYS provides online spousal maintenance and child support tools found at “NY Courts Maintenance and Child Support Tools.” Some are simpler to use than others.
NYS also provides a simplified TSM calculator in the form of a PDF document that you can fill in online and print. It also indicates the current income cap figure regarding the payor’s income used in this calculation.
A Better Spousal Maintenance Calculator
The one I suggest using is graciously provided by Joy S. Rosenthal, Esq, on this page: New York State Maintenance and Child Support Calculator. This comprehensive calculator:
- Calculates your income according to the Child Support Standards Act.
- Calculates the NYS guideline amount for Temporary Spousal Maintenance.
- Calculates the NYS guideline amount for Spousal Maintenance.
- Calculates the child support payment amount (if applicable).
As an example, here is a printout, Rosenthal Spousal Maintenance and Child Support Calculator Sample. It was created using fictional numbers and a fictional couple’s situation (no children).
To use the calculator, please read the instructions at the top of its web page. As you fill in each section with your own numbers, be sure to click the green “Calculate” button. It will take you through all the steps based on the numbers you supply and the choices you make.
The calculator saves your data, allowing you to come back at a later time and make changes. It also allows you to “reset” and start over.
As always, please verify the results you get from this calculator with the appropriate professionals before you make decisions or take action.
Disclaimer from Rosenthal’s site: This calculator is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice of any kind. The results obtained are only a guide, and represent no guarantee of what a judge might order. Rosenthal Law & Mediation does not guarantee that the calculator is accurate or up-to-date. All results should be confirmed. To get advice about your specific situation, and before signing any documents pertaining to divorce, separation or custody, we strongly recommend that you consult with a matrimonial attorney.
Links to Spousal Maintenance Series
- Spousal Maintenance Part 1 – What Is It?
- Spousal Maintenance Part 2 – Temporary
- Spousal Maintenance Part 3 – Post-Divorce
- Spousal Maintenance Part 4 – Calculations (This post)
Additional Divorce Spousal Support Resources
- New York Divorce and Family Law from DivorceNet.com by Nolo
- IRS Publication 504: Divorce or Separated Individuals (For use in preparing federal income tax returns)
- IRS Publication 17: Chapter 18 – Alimony: Tax Guide for Preparing Federal Income Tax Returns
- Special Types of Spousal Maintenance: There are other options to meet specific needs.
- Spousal Maintenance in New York State: Frequently asked questions about maintenance in New York State
Resources on NYS Spousal Maintenance Law
- NYS Maintenance and Child Support Tools These are tools NYS makes available to the public. They are adjusted as the law changes and the income cap is increased according to the Social Security cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA). Visit “Spousal Maintenance Part 4 – Calculations” for more information on calculating TSM and SM.
- 20 Factors Considered by NYS Courts in Deciding Spousal Maintenance
- Domestic Relations Law – Section 236: The full text.
- “NY Makes Radical Change in Spousal Support Law“
- “New York State Overhauls Spousal Maintenance Formula“
- “New York Divorce Essentials“
- “Frequently Asked Questions: Spousal Support & Maintenance“
Photo Credit: ©Can Stock Photo
This blog and its materials have been prepared by BJ Mediation Services for informational purposes only and are not intended to be, are not, and should not be regarded as, legal or financial advice. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.