Recently, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) was enacted into law. The SECURE Act makes significant changes to the administration of Individual Retirement Account (“IRA”) and Qualified Retirement Plan (401k, 403b, etc.)(“QRP”), and was effective on January 1, 2020. For many people, an IRA or QRP is one of their most valuable assets. Because these assets result from hard work to create and maintain the account, owners should be aware of the changes found in the SECURE Act and how they may affect the owner’s estate plan.

Continue Reading Major Changes are Impacting IRAs and QRPs – How is your Estate Plan Affected?

During the course of divorce proceedings, alimony from the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse is typically calculated based on a variety of factors. The income of the two spouses is a critical factor in determining the amount of alimony to be paid. However, some incomes are not guaranteed and can change over time. One of the most common scenarios in which the income of a spouse can change is due to retirement. Following one’s retirement, a spouse can petition the court to modify the alimony payments they either receive or pay. However, there are an additional set of factors the court must consider in permitting alimony payments to be modified if the parties were divorced prior to September of 2014.

The leading case in New Jersey addressing the modification of alimony is Lepis v. Lepis (1980), which states that “the party seeking modification [of alimony] must demonstrate that changed circumstances have substantially impaired the ability to support himself or herself.” Furthermore, the court will look at the party’s circumstances at the time of the divorce (when the alimony was determined) and at the time of application for the modification of alimony to see any differences in the circumstances between these two dates.

Because retirement is one of the leading causes for a petition for the modification of alimony to be filed, there are cases in New Jersey that have laid out a series of factors to determine whether or not the retirement of one of the spouses warrants alimony to be modified.

Continue Reading Modification of Alimony Due to Retirement