New York Spousal Support & Alimony Lawyer

When you need an attorney to help you with alimony (sometimes referred to as spousal support or maintenance), look no further than the Stepanian Law Firm. Based in New York City, the Stepanian Law Firm is on hand to help you understand your rights and provide you with the legal representation you need to protect them. No matter how complex your case, this firm will help you work toward a resolution so that you and your former spouse can get on with your lives.

What are the Differences Between Spousal Support and Alimony?

In New York Alimony Law, the terms “spousal maintenance”, “alimony” and “spousal support” are used interchangeably. There are no real differences there. The term “alimony” is more of an outdated term that emphasizes the gender of the alimony payor, like ex-husband or ex-wife. Spousal support and spousal maintenance are newer terms, which are used in New York’s Domestic Relations Law and New York’s Family Court Act, that do not emphasize the gender of the alimony payor or payee. Rather, these terms only refer to an ex-spouse making payments to the other. 

In New York City, Why Do You Need a Spousal Support Lawyer for Alimony?

Manhattan Alimony Lawyers will represent you when you are negotiating or litigating the amount of alimony you will pay or receive. The amount of alimony depends on your and your spouse’s income and other circumstances. 

Negotiate or Litigate New York Alimony?

Alimony lawyers know how to negotiate. Alimony lawyers are integral to settling the divorce case with the amount you are comfortable with, whether you are the alimony payor or payee. If the case does not settle, the alimony lawyer or spousal support lawyer will strategize with you to determine if going to Court is the best option. If you determine that it is, then your alimony attorney, will obtain additional facts and additional documentation to argue in Court why the alimony your Manhattan Spousal Support Attorney calculated is the best option. 


What is Spousal Support?

Usually, during and after a divorce, one spouse has to make payments to the other less-monied spouse. This is called alimony (also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support).


Paying alimony restricts potential unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing steady support to the less-monied spouse. This ensures the less-monied spouse has the ability to maintain their standard of living until they reach a time where they can support themselves.


The less-monied spouse is entitled to temporary and permanent spousal maintenance up to the income cap ($184,000), unless the Court finds that the presumptive amount, which is based on a calculation, is unjust or inappropriate. In determining whether the presumptive amount is appropriate, the Court will consider the following in addition to their alimony calculator:

  1. the age and health of the parties;

  2. the present or future earning capacity of the parties, including a history of limited participation in the workforce;

  3. the need of one party to incur education or training expenses;

  4. the termination of a child support award during the pendency of the temporary maintenance award when the calculation of temporary maintenance was based upon child support being awarded and which resulted in a maintenance award lower than it would have been had child support not been awarded;

  5. the wasteful dissipation of marital property, including transfers or encumbrances made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration;

  6. the existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or a pre-divorce separate household;

  7. acts by one party against another that have inhibited or continue to inhibit a party’s earning capacity or ability to obtain meaningful employment. Such acts include but are not limited to acts of domestic violence as provided in section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law;

  8. the availability and cost of medical insurance for the parties;

  9. the care of children or stepchildren, disabled adult children or stepchildren, elderly parents or in-laws provided during the marriage that inhibits a party’s earning capacity;

  10. the tax consequences to each party;

  11. the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;

  12. the reduced or lost earning capacity of the payee as a result of having forgone or delayed education, training, employment or career opportunities during the marriage; and

  13. any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.


The above is a direct quote from New York Domestic Relations Law § 236(B)(5)(h)(1)(a-m)



 CAUTION: If you don’t ask for spousal maintenance during the divorce proceeding, your New York Spousal Support Lawyer will not be allowed to request it after the case is over.

What is the purpose of a maintenance award?

The purpose of a maintenance award is to help the less-monied spouse become financially independent after a divorce.

How long does alimony/maintenance last?


Maintenance ends upon the:

a.   Death of either party; or

b.   Remarriage of the receiving party, validity or invalidity of re-marriage is irrelevant;

c.   Date specified in an agreement between the parties; or

d.   Date determined by the court.

The court may, but is not required to, set the duration in accordance with the following:

The court awards maintenance in an amount that is fair under the circumstances and that justice requires. In making the decision, the court considers:

  • the parties’ standard of living enjoyed during the marriage; and/or

  • whether one spouse lacks income or property to take care of themselves; and/or

  • whether the other spouse has enough property or income to provide for the “less-monied” spouse.


How to Calculate Alimony in NY


Calculation with Child Support:
If your divorce case was started on or after January 25, 2016:



If the non-custodial parent is also paying child support:


Step 1 — 20% of Payor’s income up to $192,000 MINUS 25% of Payee’s income.

Step 2 — (40% of Payor’s income up to $192,000 PLUS Payee’s income) MINUS Payee’s income.

Step 3 — The lower of the two amounts above is the guidelines figure.


The husband, the non-custodial parent, earns $100,000 per year (after subtracting social security and Medicare taxes). And the Wife, who has custody of the children, earns $50,000 per year (after subtracting social security and Medicare taxes).


Calculation Without Child Support:
If your divorce case was started on or after January 25, 2016:


If the parties have no children or the children are over the age of 21 years:

Step 1 — 30% of Payor’s income up to $192,000 MINUS 20% of Payee’s income.

Step 2 — (40% of Payor’s income up to $192,000 PLUS Payee’s income) MINUS Payee’s income.

Step 3 — The lower of the two amounts above is the guidelines figure.




The husband earns $100,000 per year (after subtracting social security and Medicare taxes). And the Wife earns $50,000 per year (after subtracting social security and Medicare taxes).

Are Alimony and Child Support the Same? 


No. Although both New York Alimony Law and New York Child Support Law are similar in that they are forms of payment made by one ex-spouse to the other during and after a divorce, they refer to different issues and are calculated differently.


Alimony, or spousal maintenance, refers to payments made by one spouse to the other. Usually, the alimony payor, the spouse who pays alimony, is the person with the higher income. A New York spousal support lawyer will tell you that you don’t need to have children in order to receive alimony payments. However, if you do have children, the amount of alimony you receive might be less if you receive payments for both spousal maintenance and child support. If applicable, a spousal support lawyer will take child support into account when computing with the alimony calculator for the Court.

Generally, the parent, who does not have custody of the child, will pay child support to the custodial parent. Using a standard formula, the Court will calculate the amount of support either parent will pay. The amount paid is based on how much the parties earn in a year and on the number of children involved. A parent’s child support obligation is ongoing and paid periodically until the child reaches 21 years of age or is otherwise emancipated.

Temporary Spousal Maintenance and Support

Generally, in New York City, temporary spousal maintenance and support is paid by the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse while the divorce is still in process. A New York Spousal Support Lawyer will file a “Pendente Lite” motion (A motion is an official request made to the Court) asking the court to provide immediate financial support to the lower income spouse based on considerations of reasonable pre-divorce standards of living. Temporary spousal maintenance expires once the Court decides the final order of maintenance after the divorce proceeding is over.

Can a Manhattan Alimony Lawyer Request to Modify Alimony?

Yes. Alimony lawyers can request to modify your alimony under the following conditions:

  1. There is substantial change in the income or expenses of either one or both spouses by 15% or more; or

  2. Three or more years have passed since alimony or spousal maintenance was first decided or was last modified.


Manhattan spousal support attorneys must file a petition with the county Family Court or an Order to Show Cause with the county Supreme Court in order to request the modification.

Since the higher earning divorcee can no longer deduct alimony payments from his or her income, that individual is thus charged to pay more income taxes than they had pay to prior to the 2017 Tax Reform.


Your New York Alimony lawyers can use the above in your favor irrespective of whether you are the payor or the payee of spousal support.

Contact NYC Alimony Attorneys at Stepanian Law Firm for Spousal Support and Maintenance

If you are going through a divorce and need extra attention paid to spousal support and maintenance, the Manhattan Alimony lawyers at Stepanian Law Firm can provide you with necessary legal consultation and service. Contact us or call us at (646) 596-6874 today.


Stepanian Law Firm

222 Broadway, 19th Floor

New York, New York 10038

Opening Hours

Monday - Saturday: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Sunday: Closed

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