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The amendments to Domestic Relations Law §236 are now applicable law since the New York Legislature and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo passed them last year. Improving spousal maintenance guidelines has been an ongoing discussion since 2010, culminating in the new changes. The amendments mark a compromise between lawmakers, advocates, and various family law rules committees.

One of the major amendments is the creation of a formula to calculate post-divorce spousal maintenance. Before the amendment, the court would make the determination on a discretionary basis. Additionally, the income cap on the income to be considered for the maintenance guidelines is decreasing from $543,000 to $175,000. This amount may vary depending on the Consumer Price Index. This means that income over $175,000 will not be considered in regards to calculating maintenance amounts, unless a judge finds strong reasons to deviate from the rule in the interests of justice.

Another major change eliminates the enhanced earning capacity when determining equitable distribution. Prior to this change, courts considered licenses, degrees, celebrity goodwill, and career enhancement to determine a spouse’s earning capacity. The enhanced earning capacity was used to calculate and divide the assets of the parties.

Seeking the advice of an experienced matrimonial law attorney is vital in protecting your legal rights in a divorce proceeding. An attorney can explain how the new amendments to §236 affect post-divorce maintenance and asset division. The Law Office of Larry McCord and Associates is skilled and experienced in dealing with all aspects of family law matters. Call (631) 643-3084 for a consultation today.

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