The new alimony law that was recently passed on September 10, 2014, changed one of the types of alimony from “permanent” to “open durational.” It was really just a change in semantics. Permanent alimony was never meant to be “lifetime” alimony as many clients called it. Under our previous law, permanent alimony could have been
In the past, if a person was terminated from his or her job and wanted to modify alimony due to a change in circumstances, our courts would many times not even consider such an application until six months to a year had passed. During that time, the unemployed person would have to continue paying alimony at the ordered rate or arrears would start to accrue at an alarming rate. Also during that time, the unemployed person would have to document his or her efforts to obtain new employment and provide proof of such efforts to the court when the court felt enough time had passed to file a modification application. This amount of time was very subjective and different judges would have different thresholds, since there was no statute detailing what was an appropriate length of time before someone could file such an application.
Continue Reading How the New Alimony Law Deals with Unemployment
As John S. Eory, Esquire previously blogged, Governor Chris Christie signed into law changes to our alimony statute on September 10, 2014.
Prior to the new alimony statute, the law of the State of New Jersey surrounding the issue of an alimony recipient’s cohabitation was defined by our Courts. Under the previous case law, if a recipient of alimony was cohabitating with a paramour, the payor of alimony could file an application with the Court to modify or terminate their alimony obligation. Modification or termination of alimony depended on a two prong burden-shifting test, the first of which required a finding of “cohabitation” of the dependent spouse by the Court. Such a finding gave rise to the rebuttable presumption that the financial needs of the dependent spouse have been reduced. The burden of proof shifted to the dependent spouse to show that his or her economic circumstances were not improved as a result of the cohabitation. This second prong consisted of a fact-specific evaluation of the reduced financial need of the dependent spouse based upon the economic effect of his or her cohabitation.
Continue Reading Recent Changes to the Alimony Statute and Cohabitation