Spousal maintenance, or what used to be called “Alimony”, is money paid by one spouse to the other for support; it is not the same thing as child support and, if awarded, is a separate amount. Prior to the major revision of the New York State Domestic Relations Law a few years ago the amount of maintenance awarded, if any, was at the discretion of the Judge, who made any decision based on a list of factors set out in the Domestic Relations Law.
Now we have a formula to calculate any award of maintenance. The formula is in two parts: the first part is the actual calculation of the amount to be awarded, and is mandatory for the Judge to use, unless the Judge applies a list of criteria to vary the award from the formula amount. The second part is the length of time the award is to run; it is a suggested set of guidelines rather than a required length of time and is at the discretion of the Judge.
The formula is rather complex and arbitrary and I will not set it out here. Essentially, it compares the income of each of you and seeks to balance out any gross inequalities in income.