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Spousal Support – Before You Say I Do – NY Governor Signs New Support (Alimony) Law

November 3, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog


Governor Cuomo

New York enacts new paint by number method of calculating spousal support and maintenance in a divorce or Family Court support proceeding. This new law in effect allows couples contemplating marriage and those contemplating divorce or separation, to estimate the amount and duration of spousal support to be paid or received by plugging in their respective incomes and the duration of the marriage into a statutory formula.

Similar to the approach used in calculating child support, this formula method attempts to make judicial awards of spousal support (temporary and final) more predictable by limiting the judicial discretion that has led to a vast potpourri of decisions throughout the state. The same formula approach applies to temporary maintenance, post-divorce maintenance and Family Court spousal support.

The temporary support provisions apply to new actions filed on or after October 26, 2015 and the final maintenance provisions become effective for new actions filed on or after January 23, 2016. It’s not too long before a click of an app will inform a spouse of his or her support obligation or the amount he or she is entitled as well as to predict the best time to file for divorce or separation based solely on the numbers.

Is this likely? Perhaps, as this new law adds a layer of transparency to the once elusive support laws. The new law caps the payer’s annual income at $175,000.00 from the previous amount of $543,000.00. The duration of a final support order is based upon a percentage of the length of the marriage, as suggested in the statutory Advisory Schedule. The longer the marriage the greater the duration of support. The new temporary support formula also takes into consideration the payment of child support and contemplates a concise breakdown regarding the responsibility of other family expenses.

The above is a brief overview of newly enacted spousal support and maintenance law. Other enacted provisions and specific examples will be provided in subsequent posts. As with any newly enacted law, it will take time for the judiciary and the bar to make sense of it all. While this is a formula approach to spousal support, there are numerous exceptions, and plenty of room for posturing the facts.  Moreover, judicial discretion is still alive and well, but sure to be kept in check by the higher courts.


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