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What is a Temporary Support Order?

A Temporary Support Order, or pendente lite maintenance, is a financial determination made by the court that requires one spouse to pay the other while a divorce is pending. The purpose of a temporary support order is to ensure that the reasonable needs of the recipient spouse are met during the divorce process. It is not a permanent determination and will terminate when a final order or judgment is made by the court. In New York, a spouse has an automatic right to request that a court entertain an order for temporary spousal maintenance.

Formula for Determining Temporary Support in New York

Temporary support is determined by considering:

  • The reasonable needs of the recipient spouse (payee);
  • The financial ability of the other spouse (payor); and
  • Their pre-separation standard of living.

The Domestic Relations Law (DRL) provides guidelines for the award of temporary maintenance and the formula to be applied. These guidelines are established in DRL § 236 B (5-a) and can be viewed on this temporary support calculator.

The formula utilized by the court to determine temporary support is:

  • LESSER of 30% of the Payor's Income minus 20% of the Payee's Income OR 40% of the combined Income minus Payee's Income.

The formula applies to the first $524,000 of the payor's income. If the payor's income exceeds $524,000, the court will consider the 19 factors set forth in DRL § 236 B(5-A)(2)(C) in determining the appropriateness of any additional award of temporary maintenance.

It is important to note that the court has the discretion to deviate from the amount of temporary support determined using the formula, especially if the award is unjust or inappropriate. In order to do so, however, the court is required to take a number of factors – outlined in DRL § 236 B (5-a)(e)(1) – into consideration. Our legal team can help you better understand these factors should such the need arise in your case.

If you would like more information about temporary support orders, your particular situation, and how our Long Island divorce lawyers may be of assistance, call (800) 483-1723 for a FREE consultation.

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