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Child SupportDivorceSpousal MaintenanceWives in New York Paying Maintenance and Child Support

May 23, 2018

The times they are a changing. It is now increasingly common to hear ex-wives complain about the amount of spousal maintenance and child support they are paying to the ex-husbands.

For years, men were ordered to both pay both spousal maintenance and child support as part of their New York divorce.   But, the pendulum has begun to swing the other way. But, it is now common for the wife to be the “bread-winner” in marriage and, as noted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, to be ordered to pay maintenance and child support to her husband.

This phenomenon is the result of a convergence of a combination of economic and legal factors.  According to a recent Pew Research study, the wife is the higher earner in 40% of marriage. Thus it follows that the higher earning wife must pay maintenance and/or child support when the couple divorces.

More Wives Are Paying Maintenance in New York

Until New York issued guidelines for maintenance, maintenance was awarded after consideration of a litany of factors, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties,  and their respective incomes.   The amount of maintenance awarded differed from Court to Court and county to county.    As a result of the uncertainty of the award or because of the bias that husbands should not receive maintenance from their wives, it was not the norm for a husband to be awarded maintenance, even if the wife earned substantially more than the husband.

However, with the advent of New York maintenance guidelines, spousal maintenance became a more black and white issue, the parties’ incomes are plugged into a gender-neutral formula which, in most cases, determines the amount of the maintenance award.     Few people, male or female, if told that they would be entitled to a monthly payment turn if down.

More Wives are Paying Child Support in New York

Likewise, more men are receiving child support from their wives.  Long gone are the days when it was a given that the mother would have custody of the children and the father would see his children every other weekend.   More and more, custody is shared.   In New York, where the parties equally share custody,  the parent with the higher income is deemed the non-custodial parent for child support purposes.   So, if the parties share custody of the children and the wife is the higher earner, she would pay the husband child support pursuant to the child support guidelines.

If you have questions about spousal maintenance or child support in New York, please contact us or call us at 212-683-9551.


The information contained in this website has been provided for general informational purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice; there is no warranty on this information and it does not in any way constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. All individuals are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their specific situation and facts. 


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