The Alimony Formula

Looking closer at alimony, as it relates to New York family and divorce law specifically, the courts in New York will consider many factors, but will also follow a statutory formula for calculating temporary alimony, which is as follows:

  • Formula 1: The court will subtract 20 percent of the supported spouse’s income from 30 percent of the paying spouse’s income.
  • Formula 2: The total income of both will be multiplied by 40 percent and then the supported spouse’s income will be subtracted from that amount.
  • The court will choose a temporary alimony award based on the lower of the one or two.


What is Alimony?

One’s responsibility legally to provide financial support to their spouse before, during, and after a divorce is referred to as alimony. Alimony is almost sometimes introduced as being ‘spousal support’ or sometimes even ‘spousal maintenance’.   The court’s intent in awarding alimony is to provide an economical balance between the parties involved, so as to avoid any unfair financial ramifications of the divorce, particularly in cases where one spouse has significantly contributed to the success of the other spouse.  Prior to the 1970’s, alimony was primarily a wife’s safety net; however, as the role of women evolved in the workplace and home, the award of alimony met reformation in many states.

Alimony still remains at the discretion of the courts in each state; however, a general overall picture of alimony can be established, as courts will usually consider several of the same factors when debating an award of alimony.  Overall, the length of the marriage will be considered, the overall emotional and physical health of each party, the ages of each spouse, the standard of living set forth, as well as the financial picture of each spouse and their individual contributions to the marriage, both financially and non-financially.

*This site and the form therein is meant for information and is not advice. The result here is meant to be used as a rough estimate of what an alimony payment might be.