Revisiting New York’s Changes to Spousal Support

Jeffrey Reina, a senior partner and the chairman of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Matrimonial Department, wrote a guest column that appears in the October 3 issue of the Buffalo Law Journal. In “Changes to spousal maintenance, a year later”, Mr. Reina revisits New York State’s newest Domestic Relations Law on the first anniversary of its passage. This law restructured how spousal support and child support are calculated, as well as how some marital assets are divided after a divorce.

Read the full article on the Buffalo Law Journal Website.

Spousal maintenance guidelines

New York State’s new spousal maintenance law extended existing guidelines so that they now apply to divorces that have been finalized as well as divorces that are still in progress. This law also adjusted the maintenance payment income cap from $524,000 to $175,000. This lower cap addresses concerns that the old cap was too burdensome for the payor while
still providing support for the payee. Courts may also now use an advisory schedule to calculate how long post-divorce maintenance should last. The schedule awards different amounts depending on how long the marriage lasted, which results in a longer maintenance period for couples who were married longer. The new law also requires that maintenance be calculated before child
support is.

Enhanced earning capacity

Until 2015, New York recognized a professional license earned during marriage as marital property which could be divided in a divorce. The new law states that the Court cannot consider a professional license as marital property anymore. Courts can consider the “direct or indirect contributions” of one spouse to the other spouse’s earning capacity, however. This means that one spouse’s contributions toward this professional license or degree can be considered in asset distribution, but the degree or license and the related earning capacity cannot.

About Jeffrey F. Reina

Jeffrey F. Reina is a senior partner who oversees Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Matrimonial Practice Area. Mr. Reina has significant experience in the area of commercial litigation.  He has successfully represented a vast range of clients from large multinational corporations to small local businesses in a significant variety of complex litigation in local, state, and federal courts.  For the past year, Mr. Reina has utilized his litigation skills and trial experience to serve clients in divorce matters.