The laws governing spousal maintenance in New York may be soon be changing.
The Law Revision Commission issued a recommendation that New York adopt a formula to determine not only temporary maintenance, but post divorce maintenance as well.
Presently, New York courts only use a formula to award temporary maintenance. Post divorce maintenance is generally based on consideration of a number of statutory factors.
According to the recommendation, the maintenance formula would apply to the first $136,000 of income. Courts would have discretion to vary from the guidelines if the award was unjust, inequitable or when the combined income exceeds $136,000.
In addition to announcing the maintenance formula, the Law Revision Committee suggested:
- Abandoning the theory of “enhanced earning capacity” which enabled a spouse make a claim for equitable distribution whenever the other obtained a professional license or educational degree. New York is the only state that allows distributes an enhanced earning capacity.
- Limiting the duration of temporary maintenance awards so that maintenance awards do not exceed the length of the marriage.
- Fixing the duration of any post divorce maintenance award so as to be based on the length of the marriage, the time required for the non-monied spouse to acquire sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment, and the age of the non-monied spouse.
We will have to wait to see what provisions, if any, of the committee’s recommendations are enacted into law. Stay tuned!