Open Durational Alimony in New Jersey
Following the determination of an alimony amount, the courts determine who the payor is, and how long they will be expected to pay. After an alimony duration is set, there are situations that are considered exceptional by the court that may adjust the alimony duration.
Despite the fact that their marital settlement agreement during their divorce states that a party is only going to receive alimony for ten years, if they find that they fit into these factors for exceptional circumstances, they may be able to have it extended for a few more years if the court deems it appropriate. If you are in the midst of a divorce and want to know about the alimony process and open durational alimony in New Jersey, consult an experienced spousal support attorney that could work towards a positive outcome for you.
How Long Does Open Durational Alimony Last?
In terms of open durational alimony in New Jersey, when it gets to that point where the parties are talking about the determination upon the retirement of the obligor, there is a presumption that alimony will terminate upon that obligor spouse attaining full retirement age (which is that age that an individual is eligible to receive full-time benefits under social security), which is now 67.
No arrears of past alimony are going to be vacated at that time. That means, if an individual has accrued arrears during the alimony term (during the time they were supposed to be paying alimony, they did not pay it all), they are not going to vacate that award and will have to pay that amount, despite the fact they are becoming retired. They are still obligated to pay back that amount.
Determining a Different Termination Date
When it comes to open durational alimony in New Jersey, the court can determine a different termination date, past the date of that obligor spouse attaining full retirement age. If the court determines that alimony should continue past the date of retirement, it has to address a number of factors, including the age of the parties at the time of the application for retirement, the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the alimony award, and any other factors that the court may deem relevant.
What is important to consider, is that the Family Court is in the Chancery Division (a court of equity) which means that they are trying to do what is fair. One of these factors is whether or not during the divorce decree an individual gave up money, or during their equitable distribution gave up equity in their home. Or, if one of the spouses gave up some of their retirement because they depended upon receiving this alimony and now their payor spouse or their ex-spouse wants to terminate it because they had good faith, or just gave up all these other properties because they depended on this alimony.
Factors to Prove if the Payor Retires Before 67
The aforementioned factors are important factors for the court to consider when determining alimony duration and type of alimony. If the court finds that the presumption has been overcome by one the factors, the court will apply the alimony factors to the parties’ current situation to determine whether the modification or termination is warranted. If the obligor intends to but has not yet retired, the court can establish a condition by which the modification or termination of alimony will take place.
Additionally, there are a number of factors that a payor has to prove if they retire prior to their 67th birthday. They have a burden that the retirement is reasonable and made in good faith, and the application has to be accompanied by a current Case Information Statement (a CIS) and a CIS from the date of the divorce or the entry of the award, and any subsequent motions.
After they provide all of those documents to the court, the court will consider:
- Age and health of the parties at the time of this application
- Payor’s field of employment and generally accepted age of retirement for those in the field
- Age that the payor becomes eligible for retirement, including mandatory retirement date or date upon which employment would no longer increase retirement benefits
- Payor’s motives in retiring, including pressures from their employer or incentive plans offered
- Reasonable expectations of the parties for retirement during the marriage or at the time of the alimony award
- Ability of the payor to maintain support payments after retirement and the likelihood that part or full-time work will be sought
- Recipient’s level of financial independence and the financial impact of the payor’s retirement upon the recipient
- Any other relevant factors that affect the payor’s decision on the parties’ financial condition
Contacting a New Jersey Alimony Attorney
There are a number of situations where open durational alimony in New Jersey can continue past retirement or conclude prior to retirement. Those factors need to be addressed and the parties have to go through motion practice to make sure they very thorough with the Court in explaining the financial impacts and the necessity to either extend or terminate the alimony award. If an individual wants to know more about these factors and how they can affect their alimony, they should consult a qualified attorney that can guide them through the alimony process.