Position Statement – 2015
A.7645 / S.5678
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY), supports A.7645/S.5678 which provides for temporary and final maintenance/spousal support guidelines. The Bill additionally provides an advisory schedule for the duration of post-divorce maintenance, eliminates the equitable distribution of enhanced earnings capacity attained during the marriage, and modifies DRL 248 regarding the termination of maintenance to make it gender neutral.
WBASNY supports the Bill since it represents and addresses the concerns of the poverty communities; the domestic violence communities and victims; as well as families of middle class means and above average/wealthy means.
The Bill applies an income cap of $175,000 for the Court to apply a formulaic approach to the calculation of maintenance, which captures the overwhelming majority of New York residents. The bill also adopts a two-tiered approach, with a lesser percentage applied to those who are paying child support as well as spousal support so that there are adequate resources in both households (custodial and non-custodial parents). The Court also maintains discretion, after consideration of one of more factors, to adjust the maintenance amount from the formula if it determines the same to be unjust or inappropriate.
The Bill also contains advisory durational guidelines for setting terms of maintenance. This allows for Court to make a determination based upon the specific circumstances of each case. In addition, the Court shall consider anticipated retirement assets, benefits and retirement eligibility age in making a determination as to duration so that the Court would consider actual resources available to the litigants.
This Bill addresses many of the concerns previously raised by WBASNY with regard to the previously proposed maintenance guidelines Bill. For the reasons set forth above, WBASNY supports A.7645/S.5678.