The New Spousal Maintenance Law In New York

divorce attorneyIn late 2015, the law in New York concerning spousal maintenance (alimony) changed. The following are some excerpts from this new statute:

  1. The new law establishes a $175,000 income cap with regard to determining how much spousal maintenance (alimony) should be paid.
  2. The new law establishes formulas which cause the non-custodial parent who is the “monied” parent already paying child support to pay less in spousal maintenance. When applying the formula for spousal maintenance, it is deducted from the parent’s income before calculating child support payments.
  3. Courts now have more discretion to deviate, make modifications or changes to the guidelines to deal with situations where the payment of spousal maintenance would be inappropriate or unjust.
  4. The law eliminates something called enhanced earning capacity as a marital asset in equitable distribution of the assets of the family. Enhanced earning capacity could be a degree such as a doctor holds, or a lawyer holds, which entitles them to earn more money by practicing their profession.
  5. The duration of the spousal maintenance now specifically relates to how long the parties were married for.
  6. Spousal maintenance ends when the person receiving the spousal maintenance remarries or dies.


The new spousal maintenance law will provide benefit to the monied spouse who is paying the spousal maintenance and also, sometimes, child support to the custodial parent who also happens to be the non-monied spouse.father's rights lawyer in New York

Husband Denied Temporary Spousal Maintenance

father's rights advocate in New YorkIn a recent case before Justice Jeffrey Goodstein pending in a Supreme Court Divorce Part in Nassau County, New York, a husband sought a temporary spousal maintenance (alimony) award from his wife.  He asserted that he had had discussions with the wife.  As a result of these discussions he retired and closed his armored car company.  He claimed he had not earned any income since 2010.

Justice Jeffrey Goodstein in his decision regarding the husband’s motion stated there were no claims concerning the husband being disabled or any explanation as to why he was no longer able to find employment.  Justice Goodstein suggested the husband should have looked for a job prior to bringing the application for spousal maintenance.

The wife argued in this case the husband was supporting himself, his girlfriend and in addition, his parents.  She therefore claimed the husband’s application for spousal maintenance from her should be denied.

Husband Supported Parties During The Marriage

Judge Goodstein found the pre-separation standard of living of the parties to the marriage was funded by the husband.  He had been earning more than one million dollars a year.  The husband had stated in his moving papers he wanted the wife to work because he felt it was important she develop a work ethic.  Justice Goodstein’s decision stated the husband’s retirement was a lifestyle choice and the husband had no real need for receiving funds from the wife.  Justice Goodstein found if he granted the husband’s application for maintenance it would serve as a disincentive for non-monied spouses to make any effort to earn independent income after a marriage failed.  Justice Goodstein therefore imputed $300,000 to the husband based on his prior earning capacity.  Based on this imputed income, Justice Goodstein found the husband was not entitled to a temporary maintenance award.  He found the husband was the more monied spouse and not entitled to any spousal maintenance whatsoever.


If you are thinking about getting divorced, don’t retire!father's rights lawyer Long Island

Alimony for Men

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer.  He can be reached at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, or by email to

Father Seeks to Provide Child Support In the Form of Eggs, Produce and Vegetables

In a case from Upstate New York, Justice Robert Muller sitting in Essex County, New York, Supreme Court had a new and interesting argument presented to him. The case involved a wife who had left the marital residence with the parties’ three children. Two other children of the parties continued to reside with the father.

Custody Issues

Justice Muller was presented with custody issues within the confines of a divorce case. The mother wanted child support for the children living with her and spousal maintenance (alimony). There were arguments made between the husband and the wife with regard to how much each party was earning. Eventually the court ruled the husband should pay the wife temporary maintenance in the sum of $370 per month.

Father Lives on a Farm

The husband advised the court there was a farm located on the land where the marital residence was located. He sought to have the maintenance paid to the wife in the form of meat, eggs, and vegetables from the farm. The father requested the court allow him to pay the child support and maintenance with regard to the various items grown or maintained on the farm.

Judge Robert Muller found this to be an interesting argument. However, the attorney for the father was unable to produce any precedent which authorized one party to pay maintenance and child support payments with food instead of money. The father’s request to pay the child support payments with food was denied.


For those of us who live in the Metropolitan New York area, this seems like a humorous case. However, in Upstate New York, in rural communities, where cash flow on farms can be difficult to obtain, the argument of getting credit for providing food, eggs, produce, meat and vegetables to a spouse to allow her to feed her children, is an interesting argument. Although I don’t believe the entire child support payment should be allowed to be made in food, it is not inconceivable a court in Upstate New York might someday allow child support payments to be made, with regard to parties living on a farm, with a portion of the food, produce and meat raised on the farm.

Elliot Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney. He represents fathers in divorces, custody and child support proceedings. father's rights advocate on Long Island

Alimony for Men

father's rights lawyerIt is becoming more common for men to seek alimony, which is called spousal maintenance, in New York from their ex-wives. In 1979, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Orr v. Orr there should be no gender bias with regard to courts awarding men alimony (spousal maintenance).

In 2010, there were 400,000 people in America receiving spousal maintenance. Only 3% of those were men receiving spousal maintenance from their ex-wives. There has been a significant increase recently in the number of men seeking spousal maintenance. It is becoming more common for women to become the person supporting their family.

There are more and more stay at home fathers in the United States than there ever were before. There has been a significant change in social mores which makes it more acceptable for men to ask for spousal maintenance from their spouses. There was a time that a man’s machismo would prevent him from asking a court to have his ex-wife help support him. However, in recent years, the difficulties men have been having in the employment market have caused them to be more realistic with regard to thinking about how they will live after their divorce.

Spousal Maintenance

There are two significant issues with regard to receiving spousal maintenance. The first issue is how much should the man ask for per month. This usually relates to what his financial needs are and the level of income his spouse has. The second significant issue is the duration of the spousal maintenance. How long, under the circumstances of the parties’ marriage, should he receive spousal maintenance for? The spousal maintenance may be rehabilitative, meaning it may be designed to be paid until such time as the man can find a job and get back on his feet again.


Spousal maintenance for men who need it from their wives is a step in the right direction. Men have rights to receive spousal maintenance just like women.

assisting fathers in pursuing their rightsElliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer representing men throughout the New York Metropolitan area regarding divorces and Family Court proceedings.