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2014 Changes to New Jersey Alimony Laws

As of early September 2014 the New Jersey Alimony Laws have changed significantly. While many people are happy to see the old laws being updated, others don’t think the alimony reform goes far enough.

So what’s it all about? What has changed?

First of all, nothing changes for court-ordered alimony payments put in place in the past. The terms of existing alimony orders are grandfathered in and are unaffected by the recent law changes. The law applies only to future divorces establishing alimony payments.

But there are several very significant changes to keep in mind if you are contemplating a divorce in New Jersey that will provide for alimony payments:

  • There is now a “rebuttable presumption” that alimony payments can come to an end when the person who is making the payments reaches “full retirement age,” presently 67 years old;
  • A judge has the discretion to end alimony payments when a divorced alimony recipient is living with a partner, whether or not they marry;
  • A judge has the discretion to lower alimony payments if the divorced person making the payments has been out of work for 90 days or more;
  • The term of alimony payments cannot exceed the number of years the couple was legally married, for marriages lasting less than 20 years.

The theme of recent reform in the New Jersey alimony law all points toward one primary, overarching change – alimony is no longer a permanent right or responsibility. It is presumed to be durational instead of permanent.

Critics of the new law don’t believe it went far enough to end perceived inequities on the part of those paying alimony, usually men. And alimony recipients, usually women, decry the changes that mean women may lose the benefit of monthly alimony payments as they are aging and becoming more vulnerable financially.

Naturally, people who are presently making alimony payments with no end in sight, even when their ex-spouse remarries, or are in the midst of their own financial setbacks are not pleased that the 2014 alimony reform does not apply to their pre-existing obligations.

A New Jersey family lawyer can help you sort out the alimony reform laws and how they apply to your present circumstances, whether you are contemplating a divorce now or you are already divorced.

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