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New Spousal Maintenance Guidelines Signed into Law

New Spousal Maintenance Guidelines Signed into Law

Posted By The Meyers Law Group, P.C. || 29-Sep-2015

This summer, after years of effort and collaboration with judges and advocates, lawmakers in the New York Senate passed a bill that would provide much-needed reform for the state's alimony laws. Now, as of September 25, 2015, that bill, Bill A-7645-2015, has been signed into law by the governor.

According to the memo from the bill's sponsor, some of the key changes to law that will be made include:

  • The cap for temporary maintenance will be lowered from $543,000 to $175,000. That cap will also apply to post-divorce maintenance.
  • Two new formulas will be used to calculate post-divorce spousal maintenance:
    • For when the payor is the non-custodial parent: "(a) subtract 25% of the maintenance payee's income from 20% of the maintenance payor's income; (b) multiply the sum of the maintenance payor's income and the maintenance payee's income by 40% and subtract the maintenance payee's income from the result; (c) the lower of the two amounts will be the guideline amount of maintenance."
    • For when the payor is the custodial parent: "(a) subtract 20% of the maintenance payee's income from 30% of the maintenance payor's income; (b) multiply the sum of the maintenance payor's income and the maintenance payee's income by 40% and subtract the maintenance payee's income from the result; (c) the lower of the two amounts will be the guideline amount of maintenance."
  • Maintenance will be now be calculated first and child support calculations will now address alimony payments and burdens.
  • The court can adjust the amount of maintenance up to the cap to where it finds it appropriate. Any factors taken in consideration for these adjustments must be a matter of written record.
  • The court can allocate family expenses between the two spouses while the divorce is still pending.
  • Income from income-producing property that is part of any property division will now be factored into post-divorce maintenance orders.
  • New factors to be considered in post-divorce maintenance will include: "termination of child support," "income or imputed income on assets being equitably distributed," etc.
  • A new advisory schedule will be applied for determining the length of maintenance:
    • Zero to 15 years of marriage: length of maintenance will be between 15 to 30 percent of the length of the marriage.
    • 16 to 20 years of marriage: length of maintenance will be between 30 to 40 percent the length of the marriage.
    • More than 20 years of marriage: length of maintenance will be between 35 to 50 percent the length of the marriage.
  • Anticipated retirement assets, benefits and retirement eligibility age now must be considered by the court when determining maintenance duration.
  • Actual or partial retirement, if it results in a significant decrease in income, will now be grounds for post-divorce maintenance modification.
  • "Enhanced earning capacity" judgments will no longer be made based on a valuation of a professional degree earned during the course of a marriage.
  • N.Y. DOM. LAW § 248, concerning modifying a divorce or annulment order, will now be made gender neutral.

The new spousal support provisions will go into effect 120 days after the bill's signing. The temporary maintenance provisions will go into effect 30 days after the signing.

If you are facing a divorce and want sharp, proven advocacy by your side, we invite you to contact The Meyers Law Group, P.C. today. Our dedicated Long Island divorce attorneys remain vigilant of not only our clients' needs, but of the critical changes to this dynamic branch of the law. Clients that come to our firm can rest assured that their counsel is capable and aggressive and that their best interests will be looked after throughout every stage of the difficult time.

Start exploring your options today. Contact us for a case evaluation.

Categories: Divorce