Under current New Jersey law, four types of alimony exist: permanent, limited duration, rehabilitative and reimbursement alimony. Limited duration alimony (“LDA”) and the circumstances under which the length of LDA can be extended by a court were recently addressed by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court in the case of Jones v. Jones, decided on June 17, 2013.
In Jones v. Jones, Ms. Jones agreed to accept a nine year award of LDA, despite a relatively long marriage of eighteen years. The parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) stated, that after nine years, Ms. Jones could make an application to extend LDA based upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. The Court noted that this language differs from the statutory requirement that while the amount of LDA can be modified, the length can only be extended based upon a showing of “unusual” circumstances. In denying Ms. Jones’ request to extend LDA, the court found that having failed to demonstrate changed circumstances, She would have clearly been unable to meet her burden under the stricter unusual circumstances standard. The Jones case is instructive reading for lawyers, divorce litigants and persons paying or receiving LDA.