New York Attorney Jacqueline Newman Explains New York’s New Divorce Maintenance Payment Law

Originally Published by Cecil Caulkins on Legal Broadcast Network, Oct 16, 2015

The New York law governing maintenance payments during divorce and afterwards was changed this past September. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will change the way support payments are determined. The new law changes a system set in place five years ago. The new law will be helpful for some divorcing couples, less so for others. New York attorney Jacqueline Newman explains the changes in this report.

Newman says that the new guidelines are somewhat similar to those previously in effect to the extent that it affects post-divorce support payments. Before the recent amendment, the support payment guidelines were set by the 2010 law that changed New York to a no-fault divorce state. Those guidelines covered payments from the date support was first requested up to the date the divorce was granted. However, payments after the divorce were based on “a lifestyle analysis” and were not set by the law. “There was no formula to it.”

The new law puts in place a formula for support during the pendency of the divorce and support after the divorce is granted. Under the old law, there the support was based on all income up to $543,000 per year. The new law reduces the cap from $543,000 to $175,000. That, Newman points out, “is a big drop.”

Newman says that post-divorce support still has some uncertainties. If the income of one partner greatly surpasses the combined income level of $175,000, there will still have to be the lifestyle analysis to determine how much one ex-spouse needs and how much the other one can afford.

Jacqueline Newman is the managing partner of Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, LLP, with offices in New York City, Scarsdale, and Hackensack. Her practice consists of litigation, collaborative law and mediation. She specializes in complex high net worth matrimonial cases and negotiating prenuptial agreements. She has taught the Collaborative Family Law class for The NY Association of Collaborative Professionals and the Center for Mediation in Law, as well as the Introduction of Matrimonial Law for Collaborative Divorce Professionals for the New York State Unified Court System.

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