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Huge Changes to New York State Family Law

Divorce can become incredibly complicated in just a short amount of time, depending on the details of the marriage and the size of each spouse's estate. In the past, family law judges presiding in New York State had to rely on their discretion to make rulings. While this could seem beneficial, in many cases it proved to only be frustrating; there's just too much to consider all at once.

To try to find a way to solve this problem, New York State Governor Cuomo has recently put Bill A-7645 into law. This legislation has established a formula for judges to follow when deciding upon one of the most complicated aspects of divorce: spousal maintenance. Where there was once uncertainty, there is now a system.

Some of the biggest changes to the law include:

  • Income caps lowered to $524,000 to $175,000
  • Judges permitted to rule without putting everything in writing
  • Child support payments can affect spousal support amount
  • Duration of marriage directly affects duration of maintenance
  • Equitable distribution assets no longer include enhanced earning capacity

Understanding the Two Biggest Alterations

Some of the changes to spousal maintenance law in New York might not mean much to a great deal of people, but two of the alterations certainly will. To be specific, the last two on the list above.

In the past, spousal maintenance would usually only expire once the receiver of the benefits passed away or remarried. This meant that you could pay money to your ex-spouse every month for the rest of your life, even if your marriage lasted just a few years. The new law relies on a formula that addresses this issue. Summarized, the shorter your marriage lasted, the less spousal maintenance you need to pay. At the lower end of the spectrum, a marriage lasting between 0 to 15 years will only constitute maintenance equal to 15% to 30% of that duration.

But what does enhanced earning capacity no longer being considered a marital asset have to do with anything? Many people who dedicated a great amount of their lives to furthering their education or career felt cheated by losing a significant portion of their increased earning to their ex-spouses. The recent changes work to ensure that people who have earned their rewards keep them for themselves.

Do you think some of these changes might affect you? It is better to be certain than sorry! Contact Jonathan E. Kroll & Associates, PLLC today and speak to our Long Island spousal maintenance attorney for more information.

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