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Amendments to Law Regarding Temporary and Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance

Kahn and Richardson - Tuesday, August 04, 2015

In June 20l5, the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly each passed a bill amending certain provisions of the law relating to the duration and amount of temporary and post-divorce spousal maintenance.  Although the bill has not, as of this writing, been signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, it is anticipated that it will be.  When it is signed into law, its provisions will apply to actions commenced on or after the l20th day after the bill becomes law, except as to temporary maintenance.  For temporary maintenance, its provisions will apply to actions commenced on or after the 30th day after the bill becomes law.

Some highlights:

  • The new law may not be used as a basis to change existing orders or agreements. 
  • The new law will contain formulas to determine temporary and post-divorce maintenance awards.
  • The new law will lower the current temporary maintenance income “cap” from $543,000.00 to $l75,000.00 of the payor’s annual income and the same cap will apply to post-divorce maintenance awards.
  • Temporary maintenance will terminate no later than the issuance of a Judgment of Divorce or the death of either party.
  • Post-divorce maintenance will terminate on the death of either party or the remarriage of the payee former spouse, unless the court directs “durational maintenance,” that is, post-divorce maintenance that will terminate after a specific period of time.
  • The new law will require that actual or partial retirement of the payor be considered as a ground for modification of post-divorce maintenance if the retirement results in a substantial diminution of income.
  • The new law eliminates “enhanced earning capacity” as a marital asset.
Over the next several months, and even years, there will be much discussion, interpretation and litigation regarding the new provisions. 

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Practice Areas
  • Divorce
  • Separation Agreements
  • Custody & Visitation
  • Property Division
  • Spousal Maintenance
  • Child Support
  • Prenuptial Agreements

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