Alimony changes

Alimony is an area of law that was developed long ago to help a wife support
herself after a divorce. Law and society has come a long way since then,
and it is much more the norm for women to work outside the home, and often
generate as much income (o more) as their husbands. In 2014, Governor
Chris Christie signed the
, which made some important changes to alimony in New Jersey.

One of the most drastic changes enacted by this law was the available duration
of alimony. In the past, although the length of a marriage was a factor
to consider in an alimony award, permanent alimony could be awarded to
any spouse regardless of the length of marriage. After 2014, however,
the term “permanent” was eliminated from the alimony statute
completely. Now, for any marriage less than twenty years, the alimony
award cannot exceed the length of the marriage. So, for example, if a
couple was married for fifteen years, a judge cannot order alimony for
longer than fifteen years. There is, however, an exception for “exceptional
circumstances,” which has not exactly been defined yet since the
law is so new. These circumstances could include, but are not limited
to, such things as the age of the parties at the time of marriage and
the time of the award of alimony, whether one spouse has a chronic illness, etc.

Another important change is the way retirement age is treated with regard
to modifying or stopping alimony. Under the new law, there is a rebuttable
presumption that once the paying spouse reaches retirement age according
to Social Security, alimony will terminate. The spouse receiving payment
may overcome the presumption that alimony will stop at that time by presenting
proof on a variety of factors such as ages of the parties, degree of economic
dependency on the paying spouse during the marriage, how much alimony
has already been paid, and the assets and income of the parties at the
time of retirement.

Other important areas covered by the new law include terminating support
upon loss of the payor’s job, what happens when the party receiving
payment starts to cohabit with another person, and whether temporary alimony
is a factor to consider during a final alimony award.

There is no set formula for alimony, and the new changes in the law can
be difficult to understand. We
in navigating the new law. Contact us today at (732) 479-4711 to discuss
the 2014 changes and what it means for your case

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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