When you’re anticipating or in the midst of a divorce, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the details and the various rules as they apply to equitable distribution, child custody, spousal support and alimony.  Part of the confusion is a natural outcome of how many decisions need to be made in the midst of an extremely painful and emotional time, and part emanates from the fact that different states around the country have different laws. The state of New Jersey recently passed groundbreaking laws that put an end to permanent alimony and that make it easier to lower alimony payments, and there is a significant amount of buzz that the rules may end up being adopted or replicated around the country.

Though the law is specific to the state of New Jersey, residents and attorneys in other states are paying close attention, as the change that it has introduced is significant. It puts an end to the previous possibility of endless alimony and replaces it with a limit equal to the marriage’s duration. If a couple has been married for one year then the alimony will not be available to the receiving spouse for longer than that period. The payer of alimony is also able to stop making payments once they retire. Though the law does make room for what it calls “exceptional circumstances” such as a permanent disability that prevents the payee from earning an income, its changes are clearly meant to make things easier for the payer. In fact, it also makes it easier for the alimony amount to be reduced or terminated in instances where they themselves have lost their jobs, or when their ex moves in with a new partner.

Your opinion on whether these changes are for the better or worse will clearly be colored by whether you are the person who is on the receiving end of alimony payments or are the person who is making the payments. It is important to note that the shift is not retroactive, so those with existing alimony arrangements will not be affected by the new law.

Laws regarding the elements of divorce are constantly changing, so it’s important that you work with an attorney who is well versed in the most current legislation around subjects involving alimony, child support and custody, and more. For information on how we can help you, contact us today to set up a consultation.

 

 

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