New York maintenance laws may soon be adjusted to include guidelines for long-term spousal support and a new method for calculating support awards.
A bill recently passed by state legislature may alter the way spousal maintenance is calculated in New York State. The new bill, which is awaiting approval from Governor Andrew Cuomo, proposes several changes to existing New York maintenance laws, including the addition of guidelines for long-term spousal support.
Establishing Guidelines for Post-Divorce Spousal Support
Perhaps the most notable modification proposed by the new state law is the addition of rules for determining long-term spousal support awards – a matter that is currently not addressed by New York divorce law. The bill serves to keep current maintenance guidelines for pendente lite support intact, but will extend the law to include provisions for post-divorce support as well.
Once the law is passed, the length of a payor’s support obligation will be contingent on the duration of the marriage. The bill’s advisory guidelines suggest that maintenance should last for 15-30% of the marriage length for marriages that are shorter than 15 years; 30-40% of the marriage duration for marriages of 15-20 years; and 35-50% of the marriage in cases involving a union of 20 years or longer.
The new legislation also seeks to lower the income cap used in calculating maintenance from $543,000 to $175,000.
Building Off Existing New York Maintenance Laws
It’s important to note that although the bill proposes significant changes to New York’s maintenance laws, it does not completely overwrite the procedures that are currently in place. The new bill builds off of the existing spousal support laws with the goal of providing more comprehensive guidelines and parameters for judges in awarding maintenance. New York judges will retain the ability to overrule maintenance guidelines on a case-by-case basis at their own discretion.