Divorce is a difficult decision for spouses to make. Ending a marriage with years of shared history is painful, not to mention expensive. Many people delay divorce because they’re reluctant to pay spousal support.

If you’re considering a divorce, you may worry about how much maintenance you will pay. By understanding New York’s spousal support laws, you can reach an agreement that’s fair for both you and your spouse

New York’s spousal support laws

By New York law, the amount of support you pay your spouse depends on the difference between your incomes. The state uses a formula to determine the total sum. The age, health and earning ability of you and your spouse may also factor into the final figure. The length of spousal support, though, depends the length of your marriage. If you were married for 15 years or less, you will pay your spouse support for up to 30% of its length. This amount can increase to 40% of your marriage’s length if it spanned between 15 and 20 years. If your marriage lasted for over 20 years, your spouse may receive support for 50% of its length.

Tax considerations of spousal support

If your divorce began before December 31, 2018, you will receive a federal tax break for paying spousal support. In this case, you deduct spousal support payments from your yearly taxable income. Your spouse, though, will pay federal taxes on the maintenance they receive. If your divorce began on or after January 1, 2019, federal law no longer allows this deduction. And your spouse no longer must pay federal taxes on their support income. But at the state level, you can still deduct support payments from your taxable income. And your spouse will still pay state taxes on any support they receive from you.