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New Maintenance Laws Now Effective in New York State

The New Maintenance Laws have greatly effected the way alimony (termed “maintenance” in NY) is handled in New York State.

The new law, which went into effect on 01/25/2016 throws out the former way the Courts determined alimony or maintenance and had done so for decades.  The Courts used to weigh a number of factors and make a discretionary determination concerning the amount and duration of alimony payments that was appropriate for the case at hand.  The determination considered multiple factors (about 20)  including the length of marriage and the amount of time the recipient of maintenance would need to become self-supportive.

The new maintenance law in New York has replaced this discretionary analysis with a mathematical formula that is similar to the child support calculations utilized in New York in the sense that each formula is based on the two parties’ respective incomes and the calculation yields a number that is considered a Guideline amount.  The Calculations are not simple and different formulas apply based on the facts of the case.  The formula varies based on whether there are children and if child support is paid, the formula differs depending on whether the spouse with higher income is paying or receiving child support.  The Unified Court System of New York has provided calculators and descriptions of the formulas to be utilized for post-divorce maintenance.  Please see:

http://www.nycourts.gov/divorce/MaintenanceChildSupportTools.shtml

The Court has the option of opting out of the formula based on the review of a number of factors – as listed below.

The new maintenance laws in New York also provide an Advisory Schedule for the duration of maintenance, as follows:

Advisory Schedule of Duration of Post-Divorce Maintenance Award
Length of Marriage Duration of Maintenance
0 – 15 years 15% – 30% of length of marriage
15 – 20 years 30% – 40% of length of marriage
More than 20 years 35% – 50% of length of marriage

The Court may deviate from the Advisory Schedule and the factors for this consideration are the very same factors the Court must way in determining whether to deviate from the Guidelines.

Here are these Fifteen Factors:

  1. the age and health of the parties;
  2. the present or future earning capacity of the parties, including a history of limited participation in the workforce;
  3. the need of one party to incur education or training expenses;
  4. the termination of a child support award before the termination of the maintenance award when the calculation of maintenance was based upon child support being awarded which resulted in a maintenance award lower than it would have been had child support not been awarded;
  5. the wasteful dissipation of marital property, including transfers or encumbrances made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration;
  6. the existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or a pre-divorce separate household;
  7. acts by one party against another that have inhibited or continue to inhibit a party’s earning capacity or ability to obtain meaningful employment. Such acts include but are not limited to acts of domestic violence as provided in section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law;
  8. the availability and cost of medical insurance for the parties;
  9. the care of children or stepchildren, disabled adult children or stepchildren, elderly parents or in-laws provided during the marriage that inhibits a party’s earning capacity;
  10. the tax consequences to each party;
  11. the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
  12. the reduced or lost earning capacity of the payee as a result of having forgone or delayed education, training, employment orcareer opportunities during the marriage;
  13. the equitable distribution of marital property and the income or imputed income on the assets so distributed;
  14. the contributions and services of the payee as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker and to the career or career potential of the other party; and
  15. any other factor expressly found to be just and proper

Call Danziger Legal PLLC today and consult with an attorney about your particular situation.

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