NYLAG is a member organization of the the New York State Maintenance Standards Coalition, supporting A.6728/S.5168, which will help provide consistent, fair and predictable maintenance awards for vulnerable spouses in New York. Click here to visit the Coalition website.
Since 2010, there have been improvements to the divorce process in New York. We have seen the passage of no-fault divorce, attorney fees for the non-moneyed spouse and the adoption of temporary maintenance standards. A-9606/S-7266 utilizes what we have learned and applies that knowledge to post divorce maintenance awards.
Research and experience has shown that application of formulas for the final maintenance awards recommended in A-9606/S-7266 will protect economically vulnerable spouses, allow litigants and lawyers to anticipate eventual court-ordered awards and thus settle cases without lengthy litigation and assist those unable to pay for representation in obtaining needed financial awards.
As an organization that sees people who are struggling during or after a divorce, we believe A-9606/S-7266 will bring a measure of economic stability to the people we serve.
- Provides Predictability and Consistency: Right now, lawyers can predict with some degree of accuracy the results of equitable distribution and awards of child support but lawyers, until the passage of temporary maintenance standards, could not advise their clients about maintenance. It remained a wildcard, impeding settlements and encouraging litigation. With the use of standards for temporary maintenance, we have seen an increase in settlements and a reduction in the length of litigation. Expanding standards to post divorce maintenance awards will continue to streamline the divorce process and provide more consistent awards.
- Increases Access for Moderate and Low Income Spouses: Many moderate and low income spouses cannot afford to litigate, nor can they afford an attorney to help them negotiate for maintenance. Therefore, they are forced to give up badly needed and legitimate claims. Using standards to calculate final maintenance awards would be simple enough so that even without an attorney, low and moderate income spouses could make a claim for maintenance.
- Improves Equity and Fairness: Decisions large and small made over the course of the marriage often have the effect of sacrificing one spouse’s ability to earn money for the benefit of the entire family. A-9606/S-7266 recognizes that maintenance should compensate the less-moneyed spouse for contributions made to the marriage by giving up a career, passing up a promotion, or taking a more flexible job in order to support the more-moneyed spouse’s career, raise children, care for elderly relatives, etc.
- Reduces Cost and Delay: The reforms to the divorce process made in 2010 have started us on the path to streamlining the cost and time spent on divorce in New York. The application of temporary maintenance standards has been instrumental in that process. The application of standards in post-divorce maintenance awards will continue to streamline divorce proceeding by increasing settlements and reducing lengthy litigation.
Click here to view/download NYLAG’s full memorandum of support.
Click here to view/download NYLAG’s written testimony before the New York State Senate Judiciary Committee’s Hearing on Spousal Maintenance Calculations.