New Jersey alimony laws have been called archaic in the past, but received several updates when Governor Chris Christie signed an alimony reform bill into law in 2014. If you have an alimony order in place or are going through divorce proceedings in which alimony may be a factor, it is important to discuss these new changes to the law with your experienced New Jersey alimony lawyer.
NEW JERSEY ALIMONY LAW UPDATES
The new 2014 changes include:
- The addition of language establishing a rebuttable presumption that alimony payments will cease once the paying party reaches the so-called “full retirement” age of 67;
- Limitations for alimony payments stemming from marriages that lasted less than 20 years, specifically that the duration of the spousal support payments should not last longer than the marriage itself, barring any exceptional circumstances (at the Court's discretion);
- Permission for the Court to stop requiring alimony payments when the receiving ex-spouse remarries or cohabitates with a partner;
- Allowances for the Court to stop or reduce alimony payments if the paying ex-spouse has been unemployed for 90 days or longer;
- Addition of a new provision stating that neither party is entitled to a greater standard of living than was experienced during the marriage. In other words, the paying spouse's alimony obligation cannot be so great as to lower his or her standard of living below the standard enjoyed prior to the divorce;
- Discretion for the Court to consider the recipient ex-spouse's financial situation at the time the paying party makes a request for modification due to changed circumstances;
- Permitting the paying party to submit modification requests prior to retirement and in anticipation of changed circumstances; and,
- Replacing the term “permanent alimony” with the term “open durational alimony.”
DOES THE LAW APPLY RETROACTIVELY?
In short, the answer is no. The new reforms do not change existing alimony orders. However, this does not mean that you cannot seek modification of your existing alimony order due to a change in your circumstances, such as disability, unemployment, or retirement. In doing so, your New Jersey alimony attorney can ask the Court to take into account the new policy recommendations.
CONSULT AN EXPERIENCED NEW JERSEY DIVORCE AND ALIMONY ATTORNEY
Whether you need assistance with alimony issues in your divorce or wish to modify an existing alimony order, one of our experienced New Jersey divorce and alimony attorneys can help ensure that your interests are protected. Reach out to us today for help.