The Law Offices of John Ferrara

How Long Does Someone Have to Pay Spousal Maintenance?


The length of time that someone will have to pay spousal maintenance will depend on the length of the marriage. If the duration of the marriage (from the day the parties say, “I do” to the day of the divorce action) is less than 15 years, then the amount and the duration of the maintenance will be between 15% and 30% of the length of the marriage. So, if you had a 10-year marriage, maintenance would continue for between 15% and 30% of the 10 years. If the marriage lasted between 15 or 20 years, then the duration of the maintenance will be between 30% and 40% of the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted over 20 years, then the maintenance will be between 35% and 50% of the length of the marriage. However, in all cases maintenance would end upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient.

So, a recipient who has been married for 25 years and got 50% of the duration of the marriage would get 12.5 years’ worth of maintenance. If that recipient gets re-married after the divorce, then he or she would terminate maintenance despite the award. However, these numbers are not as hard and fixed as they seem. The court can deviate from the duration of the maintenance for any of the same 14 factors that were laid out earlier.

I should add that since this statute is relatively new (from 2016). We do not have much case law telling us when courts will deviate from either the amount of the maintenance or the duration of the maintenance. Many of the cases that we are getting now, in which one party is making an argument that we should deviate from the formula, are cases of the first impression. It is very hard to tell the client how well new arguments will be received by the courts. The cases that we’re litigating now will be the cases that lawyers point to five years from now and say, “In your case, this is what happens.”

Does The Commission Of Adultery Impact A Spousal Maintenance Award In New York?

Historically, the commission of adultery has impacted a spousal maintenance award in New York, but our law has evolved from that point. The commission of adultery today does not affect the finances at all.

Additional Information On Family Law In New York

Issues of domestic violence and substance abuse often come up. In many ways, these issues affect parenting decisions and custody decisions. They also affect who is going to be in the house and who is going to be excluded from the house while the case is being litigated. These are things that come up fairly frequently, and we all have to be very much in tune with the allegations from the perspective of the person who is bringing the allegations, and we have to try to protect the person.

I represent both husbands and wives. From the husband’s perspective, assuming he is accused of the domestic violence, allegations are usually being made in order to gain leverage over the other party. Making a false claim can lead to one party getting the marital residence, which then leads to temporary orders of custody, which then leads to an advantage during the custody trial.

From the wife’s side, assuming she is the person who accuses her spouse of domestic violence, this is not about gaining leverage in litigation; it is about safety.

But whichever side I am on, these issues are difficult and need to be addressed carefully, by the lawyers and by the courts. The fact patterns are rarely identical and the consequences of error are potentially serious.

For more information on Paying Spousal Maintenance In New York, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (845) 794-1303 today.

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