|New Jersey Ends Permanent Alimony|
New Jersey Governor signed into law, on 10 September, a bill that has made significant changes to how alimony is awarded in the state.
The bill establishes durational limits and enumerates certain factors concerning the modification and termination of alimony, while establishing "open durational" alimony.
It does not apply retroactively, and thus will only be relevant to divorces in process and future divorces. However, it will apply to applications to modify alimony based upon changes of circumstances and retirement.
Amongst the changes brought by the law, of most importance is the removal of permanent alimony as an option for courts. Instead, ex-spouses making the payments can apply in most cases to have them end or be modified when they reach the federal retirement age of 67.
The court is now required to consider how long interim support has been paid in determining final alimony.
According to law firm Fox Rothschild, the result of this should be to discourage a payee spouse who may be biding his or her time during a divorce proceeding with the belief that receiving monthly support payments on an interim basis during a proceeding will not impact the overall duration of a final alimony award.
In addition, the law also stipulates that in marriages lasting less than 20 years, the length of payments now cannot exceed the length of the marriage – unless a judge decides there are "exceptional circumstances".
This law tries to equalize the playing field for men and women. At its core, the law shifts the traditional presumption about marriage: One partner, usually the man, goes to work and is financially responsible for the other, usually the woman, who stays home. Now, in New Jersey, divorce cases start out with the presumption that each person is responsible for his or her own finances.
The opinions expressed do not constitute investment advice and specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Published on our website on Oct.8, 2014