Spousal Maintenance Payments in New York, and How to Collect Missed Payments

When a marriage is in the process of coming to an end, it is common for one spouse to make payments to the other spouse not just throughout the pendency of the divorce proceeding but also moving forward on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. The term for these payments is spousal maintenance. Payments made during the divorce proceeding are called temporary support payments, whereas payments made after the divorce is final are called post-divorce payments. Spousal maintenance, which is intended for the benefit of the payee spouse, is different from child support benefits, which are intended for the benefit of the children of the marriage.

How New York Courts Determine Spousal Maintenance Payments

Recently, New York lawmakers passed a new law that tweaked the way spousal maintenance payments were calculated. Under the new law, if an agreement is not made between the parties and their divorce lawyers, the judge presiding over the divorce proceeding will use a predetermined formula to calculate both temporary maintenance support payments as well as post-divorce payments.  Incidentally, this same formula applies to spousal support proceedings in Family Court.  While the formula is somewhat complicated and beyond the scope of this post, it takes into account the following:

  • Whether the payor spouse is also paying child support payments;
  • The total income of the payor spouse (under the new law, only the first $175,000 of the payor spouse’s income will be used in the calculation);
  • Whether the parties entered into a valid written agreement regarding the determination of spousal maintenance payments; and
  • How long the marriage lasted.

While courts are able to deviate from the figures after the formula has been applied, courts must use the formula as a base-line in determining the appropriate payment amounts.

Collecting Missed Spousal Support Payments

Once a court determines that one spouse must pay maintenance payments to the other spouse, that creates a legal obligation for the payor spouse to comply with the payment schedule. On occasion, the payor spouse may fail to make the required payments. This can be burdensome on the payee spouse, who is legally entitled to the benefits. When this happens, the payee spouse is able to seek assistance through the court system to acquire the missed payments. However, under New York law, a payee spouse must file a claim within 20 years, or they will waive their right to seek the balance of any missed payments.

Are You Owed Missed Spousal Support Payments?

If you have a valid court order requiring a former spouse to make permanent support payments, and you are owed payments, you can seek a court order to compel your former spouse to make these payments to you. The Law and Mediation Office of Darren M. Shapiro has been assisting New York residents with pursuing the spousal maintenance and child support payments they need and deserve as well as representing people against whom spousal maintenance or child support is sought since we opened this office over twelve years ago.  As an experienced New York family law attorney, I am familiar with New York family law and strives for the best results for his clients, whether that is through litigation, settlement negotiations, or one of the other available methods, such as collaborative law or mediation. To learn more about what you can do to defend yourself or seek the benefits you deserve, call 516-333-6555.

More Blog Posts:

Dividing Retirement Savings in New York or Long Island Divorce, Long Island Family Law and Mediation Blog, December 11, 2016

New York and Long Island Divorce and the Home, Long Island Family Law and Mediation Blog, November 20, 2016

Contact Information