Sweeping Divorce Maintenance Law Changes To Arrive in October

Governor Cuomo signed legislation that will change how temporary maintenance is calculated and will also for the first time provide a formula for the calculation of post-divorce maintenance. Key dates are that the formula for temporary maintenance will only apply to cases started on or after October 26, 2015. The guidelines for post-divorce maintenance will only apply to divorce cases started on or after January 25, 2016.

The new rules are complicated and have many different formulas for different situations. The formulas require dual comparison calculations and are affected additionally by whether the monied spouse pays child support or is the custodial parent. In addition, for the first time, there is a formula for guidance on the length of maintenance based upon a percentage of the duration of the marriage.

Finally, for summary purposes, the income cap for maintenance calculations has been reduced from $524,000 to $175,000. This implies that the court does not have to utilize income over $175,000.

Since the law is just nearing its start on October 26th there will be much to watch and observe as the courts begin to issue new decisions utilizing the new guidelines. Both matrimonial judges and lawyers are studying the new legislation. Various groups are trying to create calculators to aid in determining the presumptive amounts. Judges will still have the discretion to modify the outcome for various reasons. It will take some time until both the courts and lawyers come to a general understanding of the application of the rules.

Keep in mind if you are considering filing for a divorce whether your attorney recommends filing at this time or after the new laws take effect.