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All Press Releases for January 24, 2014 »
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New legislation seeks to change New York alimony guidelines

In New York, alimony can be paid in one of three basic ways.
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    January 24, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Since 2010, New York has been involved in a series of changes regarding divorce legislation. Once known as one of the hardest states to dissolve a marriage, New York has enabled couples to declare no-fault as grounds for divorce. Proposed legislation this year recommends changes be made to current alimony guidelines. While some are in favor of the suggested transformation, others have serious concerns about the bill and what it would mean for divorcing women who may be eligible for the extramarital funds.

What is alimony?

Simply stated, alimony is a court-ordered and calculated payment that one former spouse is required to pay to the other after a divorce has been granted. In situations where one spouse relies on the financial support of the other to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, alimony is needed to ensure the survival of the dependent spouse. Needless to say, each case has its own unique stipulations and issues; however, having alimony available to those deemed worthy of it is a blessing in many cases.

Although each state has the ability to create its own alimony standards and policy, many follow similar guidelines. In New York, alimony can be paid in one of the following ways:
- Permanent alimony involves regular fixed payments being made without a definite end date.
- Lump sum alimony payments are rare, but involve a predetermined alimony payment to be made upfront, which eliminates the need for subsequent alimony payments.
- Rehabilitative alimony is meant to supplement the former spouse temporarily until other arrangements can be made.

In most cases, the supervising judge is able to use their discretion to determine what type of alimony would be most beneficial to the individuals involved.

Proposed legislation

The new bill, proposed by Ms. Amy Paulin, fifth-term assemblywomen for the state of New York, involves many changes to the current alimony policy. Some of these changes include:
- Amend the alimony formula used to calculate temporary financial support , which is required to be paid between the filing date and the actual completion of the divorce. The current formula for those with an income of up to $524,000 proves to be inadequate to those in the higher-income bracket, sometimes requiring them to pay more than their gross income. The new formula would apply to those making up to $300,000 gross; however, the Law Revision Commission has suggested a cap equaling that of child support which currently stands at $136,000.
- The bill would eliminate the use of professional degrees and licenses as marital assets. They would no longer be used to estimate the future income of the paying spouse. No longer would the spouse be locked in and required to pay a percentage of these "estimated" earnings.
- While current legislation terminates alimony payments if the receiving spouse remarries, the new bill would only end payments if the new marriage improves the spouse's current financial situation by a substantial amount.

While many disagree on the terms of the proposed legislation, it has yet to pass on to become law.

Alimony considerations

Before the judge makes a final ruling on an alimony payment amount, they will often consider the following:
- The financial resources of each spouse.
- The length of the marriage.
- The health and age of the spouses.
- The presence of children.
- Whether the spouse has given up a career in order to stay at home and raise a family.

With continued alimony reform in many states across the nation, it is essential to know your rights as a former spouse seeking alimony payments. Those responsible for paying alimony may also need help in upholding their rights and ensuring their alimony payments are being properly calculated. Only a reputable divorce attorney can make sure these details are being accomplished. Partnering with an experienced family law attorney will help to create an alimony settlement that is fair and just. To keep up with current alimony legislation it is best to pair with a professional.

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