Tags: alimony | assets | law | divorce

NY Alimony Bill Would Mean Degrees No Longer Count as Assets

Thursday, 25 Jun 2015 03:30 PM

Professional licenses and degrees would no longer be counted as assets when judges calculate alimony payments under a bill approved by the New York legislature.

The measure, which passed the Senate on Wednesday and was approved by the Assembly last week, would end a legal precedent that led to judges, aided by accountants, determining the lifetime value of a professional degree earned during a marriage, even if the spouse changed professions. It caused a rise in unanticipated payments of alimony, which in New York is called maintenance.

“This is a very positive development because the maintenance guidelines will make awards more consistent and predictable, which will make it easier for divorcing couples to understand their financial rights and obligations,” said Elena Karabatos, president of the state chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is reviewing the legislation, said Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman.

The bill, which also changes the way a formula calculating alimony payments is applied, was the product of a months-long effort by Karabatos’s group, the New York’s Women’s Bar Association, the Family Law Section of the New York Bar Association and the New York State Maintenance Standards Coalition, Karabatos said.

“It’s based on reasonable and fair compromises,” that address concerns of low-income earners, domestic violence victims, middle-class families and the wealthy, she said.

Calculating a professional license or degree as an asset grew out of a 1980s divorce case in which a wife gave up her own career to help put her husband through medical school, said Michael Stutman, the partner in charge of family law at Mishcon de Reya LLP in New York.

When the husband finished, he divorced her, depriving her of what she said was the return on her investment, Stutman said. The judge determined a way to figure out the future worth of the husband’s earnings, and others followed the precedent.

“It had a ring of fairness, but the concept has been perverted over time,” Stutman said. The legislation “is a significant development.”

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Professional licenses and degrees would no longer be counted as assets when judges calculate alimony payments under a bill approved by the New York legislature.
alimony, assets, law, divorce
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2015-30-25
Thursday, 25 Jun 2015 03:30 PM
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