New York may soon have a new alimony law in effect. A state bill addressing alimony calculations has already passed the legislature and is now awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature.
One of the major components of the new law is a formula to calculate post-divorce alimony. As it stands, New York alimony guidelines only refer to temporary support orders and do not address long-term support. The new bill will preserve the existing maintenance guidelines while extending them to include post-divorce alimony.
The law will help determine the duration of a payor’s alimony obligation based on the length of the marriage. The new law says that alimony duration should increase proportionately to the number of years married, but in accordance with a tiered system that provides judges with a fair amount of discretion in making the final decision.
According to the bill’s advisory guidelines, marriages of 15 years of less should result in an alimony duration that is 15-30% of the marriage length; marriages of 15-20 years should provide alimony for 30-40% of the marriage length; and the breakup of any marriage lasting more than 20 years should involve an alimony obligation that lasts 35-50% of the length of the marriage.
In addition to encouraging long-term spousal support, the new legislation also lowers the income cap that is used to determine the amount of a support award. The formula will now apply to parties with income of up to $175,000 rather than the current income cap of $543,000. However, New York judges will retain the ability to adjust alimony for a particular case if they deem necessary.