While December is one of the most popular months to pop the question, it could also be a great time to call it quits — if you live in New York, that is.
A new law, which was passed by the State Legislature and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this fall, will take effect next month, establishing a formula for maintenance, or alimony, payments in New York.
Starting Jan. 25, the income that can be considered for determining spousal support will be capped at $175,000, down from $524,000. The new law also limits the length of time post-divorce maintenance payments can be made and ends all maintenance payments upon death or remarriage.
In many high net worth divorces, the result could be a lowered payment burden on the payor, or breadwinner, in the dissolution of a marriage.
"I think it personally favors the monied party," said Barry Slotnick, a partner at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney specializing in high net worth matrimonial matters. "If you are the monied party you want to stall the filing, if you are the non-monied party, you want to go ahead and get it filed."
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Up until now, maintenance was awarded based on a consideration of a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, respective incomes and earning potential.
"In New York if you went from county to county, even case to case, maintenance awards were all over the board. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to them," said Daniel Clement, a divorce lawyer in New York. "This movement arose to standardize it."