Robert G. Smith, PLLC

New York law establishes new alimony formula

New Yorkers getting divorced may have reason to breathe a sigh of relief following the passage of an early December 2015 alimony law by the State Legislature. Whereas the factors used to decide alimony awards formerly included issues like the individual incomes of the married couple and the duration of their marriage, the new law established income limits that are set to go into effect in late January.

Legal experts predict that the changes will play a significant role in the structure and nature of high asset divorces. Because the caps mean that only $175,000 of income can be used to calculate spousal support, those who make more may have to pay less than they formerly would have. One lawyer claims that the new law is part of a push to standardize alimony amounts, and others note that similar trends seem to be taking root across the country.

The cap isn't completely new, but it's significantly lower than the old income limit of $524,000. News reports say that the law additionally stops alimony payments when someone dies or gets remarried and places limitations on how long payments must be delivered after a divorce occurs. While some lawyers believe that the legislation might reduce the complication associated with asking for alimony, experts maintain that those who have been in long-term relationships without working for years may suffer.

Planning a divorce requires expertise and careful consideration. Over time, support mechanisms that people formerly relied on may become invalid and necessitate significant lifestyle changes or even agreement modifications. Before getting divorced, couples often seek legal assistance to structure their agreements so that they can successfully fulfill their obligations and provide for themselves. Such preparation is especially important as alimony rules evolve.

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