This month, Governor Christie signed a bill that made some substantial changes to New Jersey’s alimony laws. These changes affect the duration of alimony payments and the circumstances under which they may be suspended or terminated altogether.
Changes to NJ Alimony Laws
One of the biggest changes brought about by this bill is that alimony can no longer be paid permanently or indefinitely. Under bill A845, alimony payments either cease or are modified once the ex-spouse who is paying reaches retirement age (67 years of age).
In the case of a marriage that lasted for less than 20 years, alimony payments will not exceed the length of time that the marriage lasted, unless a judge deems that there are “exceptional circumstances” warranting continued payments, such as chronic illness, or if one partner gave up a career to support the other’s career.
The bill also stipulates the factors that must be considered when the spouse paying alimony loses income and seeks to therefore modify payments. The factors include the reason for the loss of income, any severance or compensation award involved in the job loss, and the spouse’s efforts to find a new job, among others.
Finally, the bill included more specific guidelines for alimony payments ending or becoming suspended once the receiver of the payments begins living with someone else. Factors under consideration in determining whether payments should end include whether the spouse and the new person he or she is living with share finances, whether they share living expenses, and the duration of their relationship.
One should note that most of these changes only apply to couples who get divorced in the future–those who are currently paying alimony will not be subject to these changes.
To learn more about alimony and spousal support in New Jersey, visit this page of our website.
If you are currently going through a divorce, contact our attorneys at Himelman & Himelman. We understand New Jersey divorce law, including the new changes to laws regarding alimony and spousal support, and we can help you to protect your interests during this difficult time. Call us at 732-842-8200 or contact us online today for your free initial consultation.