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Report Recommends Overhaul of Spousal Support Rules

A long awaited report on divorce law by the New York State Law Revision Commission was released in May 2013. This report recommends an overhaul of some key parts of current spousal support system, including alimony formulas and the valuation of intangible marital assets.

Current alimony rules

In New York, temporary spousal support — also known as alimony or spousal maintenance — is based on a strict calculation for incomes up to $524,000. This calculation remains the basis for spousal support until the divorce is settled and can be used as the basis of a permanent settlement.

One of the most controversial parts of New York’s divorce laws is the valuation of degrees and licenses. New York is one of the only states that considers a professional license or degree a marital asset and assigns it a value, regardless of the holder’s actual earnings.  Spousal support is based on that value.

Recommendations for reform

Lawmakers and lawyers groups are advocating for the following changes to the current law based on the commission’s report recommendations:

  • Ending the independent value assigned to professional degrees and focusing on actual rather than estimated income
  • Reducing the cap on applying the formula for temporary maintenance from $524,000 to $300,000
  • Stopping  the automatic end of spousal support payments when the recipient remarries
  • Connecting  the duration of spousal support to the length of the marriage

Resolving spousal support issues is extremely tricky and your future financial stability is at stake.  If you are in the process of a divorce, speak to an experienced divorce attorney who can get you a fair settlement.

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