Governor Cuomo Signs Second Seawright Bill into Law

New legislation saves divorced parents time and money

New York, N.Y. – On Monday, October 26th Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a bill sponsored by freshman Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright that will reduce the amount of time that divorced parents spend in court. The legislation requires that child support orders contain provisions specifically stating the amount of child support that will be owed once spousal maintenance is terminated, eliminating the need for parents to seek a modification in court upon the maintenance period’s conclusion. By calling for an automatic adjustment of child support owed once the spousal maintenance award is terminated, the law will save divorced parents time and money.

The law also specifies how child support should be awarded when the payor is also responsible for spousal maintenance payments. The legislation clarifies that the formula for calculating child support should classify spousal maintenance paid or to be paid to the payee as taxable income to the payee, not the payor. The rationale for the clarification is that spousal maintenance actually paid or to be paid is money no longer available as income to the payor and, as a result, should constitute income to the payee for purposes of calculating child support and for tax purposes.

“I am pleased that the Governor has signed this important piece of legislation into law,” Assembly Member Seawright said. “By clarifying the formula for determining child support, this law will minimize the amount of time and money that families spend in court while also ensuring that each case is handled in a fair, even-keeled, and expeditious manner.”

The bill received support from the Pace Women’s Justice Center, The Legal Aid Society, the New York Legal Assistance Group, Family Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, and the New York State Unified Court System and passed the Assembly and Senate virtually unanimously.

This is the second of five bills which Assembly Member Seawright anticipates will be signed by the Governor.