A statutory post divorce maintenance formula took effect January 23, 2016. Prior to the enactment of the new formula, under DRL §236(6), the trial court had discretion, using twenty (20) factors as guiding principals, to determine the amount and duration of maintenance awarded to a party.
However, after the amendment to the Statute, the Court is guided by a simplified statutory calculation for determining the amount and duration of maintenance. For marriages lasting up to and including 15 years (measured from the date of the marriage to the date of commencement of the action for divorce), the duration of maintenance will be fifteen percent (15%) to thirty percent (30%) of the of length of marriage. For a marriage lasting between fifteen (15) and twenty (20) years, the duration of maintenance will be anywhere from thirty percent (30%) to forty percent (40%) of the of length of marriage. For marriages lasting longer than twenty (20) years, the duration of maintenance will be between thirty-five percent (35%) to fifty percent (50%) of the length of marriage.
For example: for a marriage lasting twenty (20) years and five (5) months, the court may award maintenance for a duration of between seven (7) years and two (2) months (35% of length of marriage) and ten (10) years and three (3) months (50% of length of marriage).
Note that the trial courts still have discretion, albeit limited, to determine the appropriate duration of maintenance within the specified percentages for a given length of a marriage.