Top 5 Facts About the New Alimony Law
The new alimony law is not really new anymore. It became effective about
a year ago, but has redefined how we look at
in New Jersey. It clarified certain aspects of our alimony law and made
other parts of our law fairer. In speaking with clients over the past
year, we have determined the five most important facts about the new law
that are most misunderstood. There are certainly more aspects of the new
alimony law than what is contained in this blog, but this will provide
you the basics.
- Permanent alimony has been eliminated from our law. The new alimony law
has replaced it with something called open durational alimony. It is yet
to be seen whether this new type of alimony will be significantly different
from the old concept of permanent alimony.
- Limited duration alimony is only available for marriages of 20 years or
less and cannot exceed the length of the marriage, except in exceptional
- The new law does not generally apply to alimony already ordered or agreed
to prior to enactment of the law. More specifically, if you are paying
permanent alimony, you will continue to pay permanent alimony unless your
obligation can be modified or terminated due to a change in circumstances,
such as remarriage, cohabitation, retirement or change in income.
- There is now a rebuttable presumption that individuals paying alimony can
retire at full social security retirement age. At that point, alimony
terminates absent good cause for alimony to continue. However, very importantly,
this rebuttable presumption does not apply to individuals who had an alimony
obligation prior to enactment of the new alimony law. In those cases (i.e.,
individuals paying permanent alimony under the old law), the payor must
prove by a preponderance of the evidence (meaning more likely than not)
that the prospective or actual retirement is reasonable and made in good faith.
- In the event you lose your job, the new alimony law requires you to wait
90 days before making an application to the court to modify or suspend
your alimony obligation. This is a significant change given the inconsistencies
in how courts had viewed temporary changes in circumstances.
These five items barely scratch the surface of our alimony law, which also
deals with cohabitation and modification due to self-employment income
changes. If you want to discuss your particular circumstances, call our
office at 732-529-6937 and
. Remember that we will not tell you what you want to hear. We will tell
you what you need to know.