Westchester County, NY Family Law Blog

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Final Maintenance (Alimony) Guidelines- New York State Legislature May Pass An lll-Conceived Bill

I was up in Albany several weeks ago as part of a lobbying effort against another ill-conceived maintenance bill that a coalition of poverty law and other groups are trying to push through the New York Legislature.  Senate Bill S7266 (same as Assembly Bill A9606) is a similar bill to the one Assemblywoman Amy Paulin introduced last year in a failed attempt to introduce final maintenance guidelines in New York State; that is, a formula for the amount and duration of alimony regardless of the specific circumstances of the parties.  This new bill is being pushed by Senator Bonacic and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein.  At least this reincarnation of last year's bill provides for the termination of maintenance (alimony) upon remarriage (unlike the Paulin bill), but it is still a disaster.

The bill is being opposed by the Family Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers New York Chapter, the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York, and other bar groups.  That should tell you something.  The reason why lawyers, including me (I am co-chair of the New York State Family Law Section's Committee on Legislation and a fellow of the AAML), don't want this bill to pass is simple- it is unfair to the payor spouse, and it incorrectly presumes that everyone's circumstances are the same.  If your client doesn't like the presumption, he or she will be forced to litigate against it.  Good news for lawyers who like to litigate.  For those of us who like to settle our cases, not such good news.  However, the bill has traction in both the Assembly and Senate. The good news is that there are several legislators who expressed reservations about the bill, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to prevent its passage by the end of the legislative session in mid-June 2014.  

Berman Frucco Gouz Mitchel & Schub p.c. is located in White Plains, NY and serves clients throughout Westchester County, including but not limited to Ardsley, Bronxville, Bedford, Briarcliff Manor, Chappaqua, Dobbs Ferry, Eastchester, Harrison, Hartsdale, Hastings on-Hudson, Irvington, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Pelham, Pleasantville, Pound Ridge, Purchase, Rye, Scarsdale, Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, White Plains, Yonkers, and Yorktown.

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