Payors can now ask the court to count temporary support payments while the divorce is pending against the total maintenance award.
Filed in Divorce, on December 30, 2017
Effective June 1, 2018, a court has the discretion to credit a maintenance payor for the amounts of temporary maintenance paid under an order for support which will count for the total duration of maintenance. What does this mean? Perhaps an example is the best way to explain it.
John and Jane Doe have been married for exactly five years when John files for divorce. The court has determined that John should pay Jane temporary maintenance while the divorce is pending. John’s annual income is $100,000 and Jane’s annual income is $65,000.
First, the court calculates 30% of John’s annual income, which is $30,000. Then, the court calculates 20% of Jane’s annual income, which is $13,000. The difference between these to figures is $17,000. This is the annual amount of maintenance that will be paid by John to Jane. Reduced to a monthly amount, John pays $1,416.67.
To determine how long John is required to pay, the duration of the marriage (5 years) is multiplied by the statutory figure of .24, resulting in 1.2 years. As of June 1, 2018, the court may begin counting that 1.2 years of maintenance payments as soon as a temporary maintenance order is entered. The end result is that John may be credited for the amount of time he pays maintenance while the divorce is pending. So, if Jane gets an immediate temporary support order entered which includes maintenance, and the divorce lasts for two years, John may end up paying his entire maintenance amount before his divorce is final.
Obviously, this favors maintenance payor. The probable goal behind this change is to discourage spouses receiving maintenance from “dragging their feet” during the divorce because, under the current statute, the longer the marriage (which includes the time period a divorce is pending), the longer the duration of maintenance.