New York's Spousal Support Formula is Altered


Out of all the aspects of a divorce, spousal support – sometimes called just alimony or even spousal maintenance – has long been regarded as one of the most frustrating and complicated. In New York especially, where some people were paying more each month to their ex-spouses than they were earning, alimony has been a serious problem. A bill has recently swept into use that seeks to change all of that for the better.

The bill seeks to clarify spousal support across the board, regardless of the value of your shared estate when divorcing. People from all walks of life in the state should benefit from the following changes:

  1. Formulaic duration: Judges can now use a set formula when determining how long alimony payments should last, rather than just their discretion. Simplified, the new system states clearly that maintenance will last a lesser amount of time the shorter a marriage exists.
  2. Enhanced earning potential: In the past, an ex-spouse would collect a percentage of the total lifetime value of an advanced degree or certification, regardless if the person who earned that degree held a related job or not. This meant that you could get a doctorate for your field but decide to change careers, and still pay large amounts to your ex for the rest of your life. This has all but been eliminated in the new law.
  3. Child support: Spousal support and child support payments used to be largely separate entities in divorce proceedings. Now they and their financial impacts are considered together. To some extent, if you are paying child support, you can now expect to pay less spousal support, or vice versa.
  4. Income cap: Temporary maintenance and post-divorce alimony will be based on a formula regarding incomes up to $175,000, down from the previous, much-higher amount of $543,000. This could greatly broaden the spectrum of people affected by the changes, as obtaining half a million dollars a year is a feat in and of itself these days.

Help Understanding the Changes

Yes, the bill was drafted to simplify and clarify existing divorce regulations but, no, it might still be understandably complicated for most people. In some ways, intricacies and fine details are the nature of laws. If you are going through a divorce but can’t quite figure out what to do next or how your spousal support payments should be arranged, you do not need to hesitate to get the help you need.

At The Law Office of Ava G. Gutfriend, our Bronx divorce attorney can support you during this complex and crucial time in your life. Our goal is to get you on your feet and down a path of comfortable solutions, all so you can look forward to your life ahead of you, rather than feeling like you are trapped in the past. Contact us today for more information.

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