On September 9, 2014, the lengthy push for alimony reform in New Jersey came to a conclusion when Governor Christie signed A-845, a set of new laws that will make significant changes to New Jersey’s alimony system.
What does this mean for you?
If you currently have an alimony order in place, the new laws will generally have little to no impact on you. If you have questions or feel a change in your alimony order is needed, please read about formal modification of spousal support amounts, and the grounds upon which this kind of motion can be filed.
For anyone who has a New Jersey alimony order put in place after these news laws go into effect, however, the following changes should be taken into consideration. For new divorces, major changes under New Jersey alimony reform changes regarding:
• Length of alimony orders: When a marriage lasts fewer than 20 years, the length of alimony payments cannot exceed the length of the marriage unless a judge decides there are “exceptional circumstances.”
• Cohabitation after divorce: Judges will be able to end payments if the recipient lives with a partner, even if they don’t get married.
• Income/Job Changes: Judges will be able to lower payments if the payer has been out of work for 90 days.
• Establishment of Open Durational Alimony: The term “permanent alimony” would be replaced with “open durational alimony,” an open-ended form of alimony which would only apply in unusual circumstances (i.e., a spouse who is unable to work due to a health issue, etc.)
• Retirement & Alimony: Alimony payments will end (if they have not already) once the ex-spouse paying them reaches the “full retirement age” of 67, unless the receiving spouse files a motion and is able to prove that need for support remains.
Of course, these are the blanket changes contained in the laws and all or only some might actually apply to your situation. What still matters most are your individual alimony factors, including work history, lifestyle, and factors such as whether you’re a stay-at-home parent. We encourage you to read more about alimony, including the different types of alimony available in New Jersey, to see what work best for you. Consulting with an attorney can give you the best overview of how spousal support will factor into your divorce.
Additional New Jersey alimony resources:
The slideshow presentation below is an easy-to-follow summary of what you need to know about alimony reform in New Jersey as of September 10, 2014: