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Getting Divorced? New Law May Decrease Your Income

Getting Divorced? New Law May Decrease Your IncomeIf you are getting divorced in New York then you should know that recent revisions to the Domestic Relations Law will impact the calculations to your maintenance payments.

If you are considered the “non-monied” spouse, then you may be negatively impacted by these changes and could receive significantly less in spousal maintenance payments as a result. However, if you are considered the “monied” spouse, then these changes may benefit you by capping your income, eliminating the application of enhanced earning capacities, and limiting the timeframe of maintenance obligations.

Some key aspects of the amendments to §236 of the Domestic Relations Law will:

  • Establish a $175,000 income cap for applying formulas to determine maintenance payments, down from the $524,000 under the 2010 law;
  • Create separate formulas for determining maintenance by imposing a lower payment burden to the “monied” partner if he or she is the non-custodial parent already paying child support to the ex-spouse/custodial parent;
  • Eliminate the concept of enhanced earning capacity as a marital asset in equitable distribution. This means that the value of an advanced academic degree that one spouse earned while the other worked to support the family is no longer part of the equation;
  • Limit the length of the post-divorce maintenance obligation to the duration of the marriage;
  • Specify that both pre-judgment and post-judgment maintenance payments now end upon the death or re-marriage of the “non-monied” ex-spouse.

The portions of the new law pertaining to temporary maintenance came into effect on Oct. 26, 2015, and the changes to permanent maintenance calculations will take effect on Jan. 25, 2016.

These changes will have a serious impact on estate planning and taxation of divorced individuals, as well as how and what government benefits divorced individuals and their families may be eligible for.

There are approximately 50,000 divorces each year in New York. Given these significant changes it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced attorney.

Eric J. Einhart

Eric J. Einhart
Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530

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