Commonly known as alimony, spousal maintenance refers to the payments that one spouse pays to the other when going through a divorce and after the proceedings conclude. Regardless of whether you are the paying or recipient spouse, New York State laws and formulas for calculating spousal maintenance are complex. Plus, divorce may involve bitter disputes and heated emotions, so alimony is often a hotly contested issue.

Our attorneys at The Colwell Law Group, LLC are dedicated to helping spouses on both sides of the spousal maintenance issue. We have more than 20 years of combined experience advocating for clients in alimony matters, and extensive knowledge of the laws governing the amount of spousal support. Family law is our core practice area, so you know you can trust our lawyers to fight for your rights in alimony disputes.


New York Law on Spousal Maintenance

There are two types of alimony in a New York divorce case:

  1. Temporary Maintenance, which is designed to assist one spouse financially while the divorce case is pending; and,
  2. Post-Divorce Maintenance, referring to the financial support one spouse receives after the divorce case concludes.

In general, the point is to establish a balance between the income and needs of each spouse, and to ensure the lower earning spouse enjoys a lifestyle that is reasonably similar to that which existed before the divorce. However, there are more specific provisions under New York State law. Under recent changes that took effect in January 2016, the formulas for calculating temporary and post-divorce maintenance are the same. Factors include:

  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Income and property owned by each spouse;
  • The age and health of each spouse;
  • Present and future earning capacity;
  • Where minor children live;
  • The ability of the spouse seeking alimony to become self-sufficient in the future;
  • How marital property is divided in the divorce case;
  • The contributions that the spouse seeking spousal maintenance made to the household, as a parent, and to the career opportunities of the other party; and
  • Other considerations.

Note that the statutory formula is intended to be a guideline, so a Herkimer County Family Court may deviate if it finds the spousal maintenance amount to be unfair.

Modifications of Spousal Maintenance

Either spouse may request a modification of alimony if there is a change in circumstances that impacts the individual paying or receiving spousal maintenance. For instance, if the payor loses his or her job, or the recipient’s income increases, there may be grounds for a modification.

Maintenance ends by operation of law upon the death of either spouse or remarriage of the recipient spouse. In addition, alimony terminates if the recipient is residing with another person and the pair hold themselves out to be in a marital relationship.

Herkimer County Attorneys Fighting for Your Rights

At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, our lawyers will protect your rights whether you are the spouse paying alimony or the one receiving it. We can explain your options in more detail after reviewing your case, so please give us a call at 518-864-0564 or visit our website to schedule a confidential consultation.

Tell Us About Your Legal Need

Reviews From Past Clients

Read & Watch Reviews From People Like You

Find out how Colwell Law Group helped Amanda get her daughter back after a one-sided custody battle

Find out why Christian decided to retain a lawyer who specialized in divorce law & how it influenced his case.

Mary was sensitive and helpful in guiding me through a mediated separation and subsequent divorce...


I retained Kevin Colwell during what was for me, the worst period of my life to date...


When I first became separated, I hired a pitbull attorney so I could get back at my ex, who had wronged me...


Attorney Kevin Colwell (Kevin) and his firm helped my wife and I sell our house. It had been 9 years since I had sold a house so I needed to be guided through the entire process from the contract through to sale.


Mary Colwell was recommended through a friend who had recently just gone through a divorce...


A divorce is not a great process for anyone. This was the most difficult time for me to go through...


I have hired Mary for multiple purposes in the past few years for everything from family law issues to traffic violations...


Mary drafted a prenuptial agreement for my husband and me that was fair and agreeable to both of us...