When a couple gets divorced in New Jersey, one of the factors that may be addressed is spousal support, also known as alimony. The Alimony Reform Bill was enacted in September 2014. In some instances, this bill changed the existing law and in other circumstances, it simply endorsed law previously only found in cases and not in a statute. The four types of alimony found in the bill are Open Durational, Rehabilitative, Limited Durational and Reimbursement.
There are a number of factors to consider when determining what type of spousal support will apply to your situation. Some notable factors include the length of the marriage, the financial circumstances of each spouse, the age and health of each spouse, the equitable distribution arrangement and the parenting agreement. For any marriage that lasted less than 20 years, the duration of the spousal support must not exceed the number of years that the marriage lasted. However, if there are certain exceptional circumstances, spousal support may be extended.
Reimbursement alimony is typically awarded if one spouse supported the other spouse in paying for their higher education. This type of alimony cannot be modified. Rehabilitative alimony exists to allow a dependent spouse the ability to become financially self-sufficient. For example, if one spouse put their education on hold, rehabilitative alimony can assist them in finishing a degree so they can support themselves financially. Limited durational alimony exists for couples that have not been married for a long time. Open durational alimony is available for marriages that lasted longer than 20 years. This form of spousal support codifies what was previously known as permanent alimony.
Open durational alimony continues until there is a substantial change in circumstances, which can include a bona fide retirement pursuant to the payor’s Social Security retirement age. The parties can agree to terminate or modify the alimony, or a court can order a termination or modification.
If you have any questions about spousal support in New Jersey, contact an experienced divorce attorney at Cohn Lifland who can provide you with assistance.