Essex, Hudson, Union County Family Law and Alimony Attorney
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Law Offices of Kevin Crawford Orr • (973) 824-5520
Alimony - The 2014 Revisions are Held NOT Retroactive
Effective September 10, 2014, major changes were made to New Jersey's alimony laws. But, many of those changes do not apply to post-judgment orders finalized before its effective date. In other words, if your divorce happened prior to September 10, 2014, many provisions of the changes in New Jersey's alimony laws do not apply to you. The Appellate Division recently held in Spangenberg v. Kolakowski, 442 N.J. Super. 529 (App. Div. 2015), that the statute's cohabitation amendments, requiring alimony to be terminated or suspended, do not affect agreements or orders adopted prior to its enactment.
Alimony - In General
"Alimony relates to support and standard of living; it involves the quality of economic life to which one spouse is entitled, which then becomes the obligation of the other." Gnall v. Gnall, 222 N.J. 414, 429 (2015). A Family Part judge's determination of "[w]hether alimony should be awarded is governed by distinct, objective standards defined by the Legislature in [N.J.S.A.2A:34-23(b)." Ibid. Ultimately, "the overriding "purpose of [the Alimony Statute] is to give a matrimonial judge broad discretion and authority to fashion sagacious remedies on a case by case basis, which will achieve justice and fulfill the needs of the litigants." Randazzo v. Randazzo, 184 N.J. 101, 111 (2005)(citations omitted).
Permanent Alimony (now known as Open Durational Alimony, or ODA) is intended to allow the dependent spouse to live the same lifestyle to which he or she became accustomed during the marriage. The court has broad discretion when awarding permanent alimony because no two cases are alike. When determining the amount of an award, the court must evaluate the actual needs of the dependent party and the actual means of the other party.
Limited duration alimony is intended to address a dependent spouse's needs following a shorter-term marriage where permanent or rehabilitative alimony would be inapplicable or inappropriate, but where economic assistance for a limited time would be just. Where all other statutory factors are equal, the duration of the marriage marks the defining distinction as to whether permanent or limited duration alimony is warranted. Limited duration alimony may not be awarded where permanent alimony is warranted.
Rehabilitative alimony is a short-term award intended to provide financial support to a spouse while he or she prepares to reenter the workforce through training or education in order to improve earning capacity and prepare for economic self-sufficiency. The fourth type of alimony, reimbursement alimony, is awarded to a spouse who has made financial sacrifices, resulting in a temporarily reduced standard of living, to allow the other spouse to secure an advanced degree or professional license and thereby enhance the parties' future standard of living. Both rehabilitative and reimbursement alimony can be awarded separately, or in combination with another type of alimony.
Do not go through the stressful and emotional process of a family law dispute on your own. Whether you are involved in a divorce or a dispute over alimony, we will do everything we can, including litigation, in order to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us today for more information.