New Bill Affects Value of Professional Licenses in Divorce Proceedings

//New Bill Affects Value of Professional Licenses in Divorce Proceedings

New Bill Affects Value of Professional Licenses in Divorce Proceedings

New York will most likely have new legislation regarding maintenance fees in the coming weeks. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign this piece of legislation that was recently passed by both houses. Last week, in my discussion of maintenance and other fees, I explained the process of determining maintenance awards, child support and attorneys fees. The new legislation would change the law regarding the value of professional licenses during this process.

First, the bill would eliminate enhanced earning capacity as a marital asset. In the past, a party to a matrimonial action might have their enhanced earning capacity evaluated from a license obtained during the marriage. This would commonly include professional licenses, such as a law or medical license. Assuming the legislation is signed and becomes law, the courts would no longer be required to determine the lifetime value of a license or professional degree earned during the marriage. This is sure to be a relief to those who got married while in professional school.

As the license would no longer be counted as an asset, it may instead be used as a factor in maintenance awards. The new bill would preserve the temporary maintenance guidelines, but would address the problems associated with the 2010 law. This formula created some radical shifts of money from one spouse to the other without regard to actual needs and fairness. Many judges have used their discretion to deviate from the formula in an effort to create a more equitable award. Unlike the current approach, the proposed law takes into account whether child support is being paid prior to calculating maintenance.

The new law will continue to give judges discretion on the amount of temporary maintenance awarded. However, when considering maintenance for the period following the divorce, there are several new factors that the courts will consider. These include termination of child support and income on assets awarded in equitable distribution. The law also gives suggested ranges for how long maintenance should last depending on how long the marriage was.

The law would go into effect 120 days after the governor signs it, so if you are already involved in a divorce action the old law will apply. The provisions of the proposed new law regarding temporary maintenance will go into effect 30 days after it is signed.

By | 2017-01-13T15:02:04+00:00 July 24th, 2015|Divorce Law|0 Comments

About the Author:

Deborah E. Kaminetzky
Deborah E. Kaminetzky is the founder of Kaminetzky Law & Mediation, P.C. located in Long Beach, New York. Prior to starting the firm Deborah worked at a Long Island firm where she learned the practice of Matrimonial and Family law and Estate Planning. Deborah has also worked at the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs where she was responsible for prosecuting unlicensed home improvement contractors and negotiating settlements for consumers. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Kaminetzky was the president of a commercial property management corporation in the New York Metro area. Ms. Kaminetzky is a member of the National Association of Divorce Professionals, New York State Council on Divorce Mediation, Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York, New York State Bar Association (Business Law, Estate, Family Law, ADR and General Practice Sections), Nassau County Bar Association (where she serves as Chair of the General, Solo and Practice Management Committee and The Nassau County Women’s Bar Association. Ms. Kaminetzky was appointed to the Committee on Law Practice Management of the New York State Bar Association in 2015 and has been a frequent speaker and author of articles for their journal. Ms. Kaminetzky serves on the Board of Directors of the Yashar Attorney and Judges Chapter of Hadassah as a their Treasurer, and was their Woman of the Year 2012 and Leadership award honoree in 2019. Deborah graduated from New York Law School in 1991 and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1986. Ms. Kaminetzky was admitted to the First Department in 1991 and the United States Supreme Court Bar in February of 2015. Deborah is on the Matrimonial fee dispute arbitration panel for Nassau County. She expanded her alternative dispute resolution practice by completing a Mediation certificate program in December of 2013, an advanced Mediation certificate program in 2015 and most recently a Divorce Mediation certificate in early 2016 from The New York Peace Institute. Ms. Kaminetzky has spoken to various groups on topics including matrimonial law, technology and social media use, and disaster preparedness for business including cybersecurity.