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Major New Changes in New York Divorce Law Effective October 2015

Sweeping changes in the way temporary and long term spousal support is calculated and an end to a major advantage to non-working spouses are the key features of the new law, parts of which take effect for cases started in or after late October 2015, and other parts of which take effect in early 2016.

The first part of the law to take effect dramatically alters the formula by which temporary support is to be calculated. Under the old¬†law, adding child support payments and temporary spousal support payments together could leave the receiving spouse in great financial shape while the paying spouse could not have enough money to meet bills. The new formula is described as “needs based” rather than mechanically shifting income. One of its key features is that it has different formulas for those who are paying child support and those who are not.

Another important feature is that the “cap” in the formula, the maximum amount of annual income on which a payer of temporary support will automatically be assessed temporary support is being dramatically reduced, from $543,000 to $175,000. There are provisions for exceeding the cap, and we’ll have to see how judges handle those provisions. The new law also allows judges to allocate expenses between the parties, such as requirements for payment of mortgages and taxes – and that can be over and above temporary support.

In January 2016 the new law eliminates another major economic benefit that has either delighted or angered parties, depending upon which side of the table the party has been sitting. No longer will “enhanced earnings” from a degree earned or a license acquired during the marriage be considered an asset to be valued and divided, usually as a lump sum, in equitable distribution. The¬†earnings will be used in the calculation of support – but that’s it.

The changes in the law also apply in Family Court support calculations.

How this will affect your case is something we’d be happy to discuss with you. Either call or contact us via the “I need a Lawyer Now” banner at the upper left corner of the page and we’ll work on your situation.



Call Kristen Prata Browde, Your Attorney in New York: 914 861-9119