There is a new alimony law that Governor Christie signed on September 10, 2014. The law tries to make alimony more reasonable for both sides. I think it will not impact most of our divorce mediation clients because at Westfield Mediation, LLC, we always work with our clients to develop a future that is fair and equitable to both parties. Our clients first decide if spousal support is even warranted in their situation. Then, if it is, we help them work out a feasible amount of support and time frame for the support. Spousal support can be a very emotional issue, so it is good to know the facts on which you can base your decisions, and then develop a realistic plan.
One of the main points of the new law is that it eliminates “permanent alimony” and replaces it with “open durational alimony”. In plain English, this means that a divorcing spouse does not automatically get/have to pay alimony for the rest of his/her life. Couples will review alimony at retirement age, and there are safeguards so that a person does not suddenly retire early to get out of paying alimony. “Full retirement age” shall mean the age at which a person is eligible to receive full retirement benefits under section 216 of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. s.416). If a person plans an early retirement they must prove they are doing so in good faith. Another key point is that for marriages or civil unions lasting less than 20 years, the length of alimony cannot exceed the length of the union, except in exceptional circumstances. Also, cohabitation (living with someone without marrying them) is more clearly defined, which will make it easier to prove.
The other types of alimony: limited duration, rehabilitative and reimbursement, still exist. So, good-bye to permanent alimony. Some people will miss you dearly while others say, “Good riddance”.
For more information about the new Alimony Law or Divorce Mediation contact Randi M. Albert, JD, or Michelle Weinberg, LMFT, at Westfield Mediation, LLC, at 908.913.0373. View our website at www.westfieldnjmediation.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org