The state an individual resides in determines many different aspects of life. For instance, most New York residents know that these aspects include how they are penalized for crimes and how much an individual is taxed. However, depending on the state in which a married couple resides or moves to, the outcome of a divorce, including how much alimony is allotted, can be very different.

If the couple reaches an amicable settlement, it might be legally approved in any state. However, if it is a contested divorce and they decide to leave it to a judge, he or she will likely apply either state or county guidelines, which can vary widely state by state. As such, few states have any sort of formal guidelines. Most state’s guidelines are set by the local judge, who is often primarily influenced by other local judges or judges within their own state.

For example, the protocol when it comes to deciding how much alimony should be allocated varies greatly state by state. If a husband makes $100,000 per year while his wife brings in $30,000, and they reside in Massachusetts, the husband would have to pay his wife $59,500 per year in alimony until he reaches age 65, according to state alimony guideline calculators. If they lived in Kansas, however, the wife would instead receive $38,000, per state alimony guidelines.

Thus, if the couple spent most of their married lives together living in Massachusetts but resettled in Kansas, they would end up with very different post-divorce lives in regards to their finances. This has prompted some experts to wonder whether or not the United States should have a national divorce law. At any rate, divorce in any state, including New York, is often a complicated process and is best handled with the help of an experienced divorce attorney who can share their wealth of knowledge of his or her state’s laws as it pertains to alimony guidelines.

Source: forbes.com, “Is it time for a national divorce law too?“, Laurence Kotlikoff, July 12, 2015