What Is “Lifetime Alimony” and Does New Jersey Allow It?

When you’re going through a divorce, it can be emotionally exhausting and stressful, but many vital decisions must be made to ensure a bright “after-divorce” future.

One of the most confusing topics is the payment of alimony to the former wife or husband; questions such as who pays who, how much, and for how long?

Alimony laws constantly change, as do the trends on alimony payments. In 2014, a new bill was passed in New Jersey that attempted to provide more explicit guidelines involving alimony issues, including those involving “permanent” alimony.

The 2014 bill altered the terminology for permanent alimony, now referring to it as “open-durational alimony.” The legislature felt that this terminology more accurately describes this type of alimony, which is not necessarily permanent.

This reform bill significantly changed the previous alimony statutes. For example, the duration of alimony payments usually does not exceed the length of the last marriage.

“OConversely, “open-durational alimony” usually only applies to marriages of 20 years or more. If it does apply to your situation, open-durational alimony will usually continue indefinitely unless the spouse receiving it remarries, the spouse paying the alimony retires at full retirement age, or has a significant change of circumstances that would warrant alimony modification or termination.

As your experienced, knowledgeable Morris County divorce lawyer will explain, there are almost always exceptions. Therefore, your divorce law team’s consultation and advice will be invaluable in ensuring you receive what you rightfully deserve.

Suppose you were married for 17 years and are now divorcing. Your ex-spouse’s obligation to pay alimony wouldn’t typically last longer than 17 years at maximum.

Your Morris County divorce lawyer, fighting for your rights, would always attempt to negotiate alimony payments for a time period that makes sense in your case, not exceeding 17 years. This is known as “limited duration” alimony payments, and it sets a monthly payment amount for a specific number of years.

What Are Examples of Circumstances That Might Affect My Alimony Payments?

Every divorce and its inherent details differ, and whether you’ve been married for twenty years or two, your Morris County divorce lawyer will always work tirelessly to safeguard and ensure you understand your rights concerning paying or receiving alimony.

You must also be aware that New Jersey Family Courts uphold the rights of men as they are equally entitled to alimony. Times are always changing, and if you are a man, you never should let your pride get in the way of your future stability. If you feel you are entitled to alimony, then you and your skilled alimony lawyer must fully explore this option.

That said, here are some examples of circumstances that could affect whether you receive alimony and for how long are;

  • You and your spouse’s age at the time of the marriage and alimony award.
  • How dependent you are on your spouse for financial support during your marriage, and for how long.
  • Whether either of you are in poor health.
  • If you had to forfeit your career or otherwise support your spouse’s career.
  • Specific concerns in your marriage, such as childcare responsibilities, may have affected your spouse’s ability to support themselves financially.
  • Tax issues and many other factors a New Jersey judge decides are relevant to making alimony decisions.

If My Ex-Spouse Remarries and Gets Divorced Again, Do I Still Get My Alimony Payments?

This is oddly not an uncommon question. The New Jersey courts always consider each distinct divorce case based on the specific details involved. If you were married and granted alimony payments, your ex-spouse would commonly have to pay you whether they are still single, married, or divorced again.

Overall, New Jersey alimony laws and judges are unbiased and focus on each spouse’s financial details and the specifics of the current divorce being presented. If your ex-spouse pays you alimony payments under a court order, that order usually stands outside of any other circumstances.

New Jersey alimony laws are not based on how many times your spouse may have been married or divorced. Neither are they based on your gender. New Jersey judges and divorce laws will consider marital net assets, liabilities, and debts before deciding on a specific alimony amount or payment terms. New Jersey laws prohibit judges from gender discrimination when calculating alimony payments.

Alimony issues are some of the most complex and confusing matters in your divorce. If you receive alimony payments, any changes to those payments would have to be formally issued by the New Jersey court.

That said, if your spouse was remarried and is presently filing for a 2nd divorce, you should consult your Morris County divorce lawyer to fully understand the complexity of this particular situation and be able to defend your current alimony payments.

What Circumstances Could Affect My Alimony Payments?

If you’re receiving alimony currently, the end of that obligation usually depends on the in-place terms outlined in your current alimony agreement. However, often individual judges hold some subjectivity in interpreting the laws and circumstances involved, because
the current alimony laws have a lot of “gray areas.” For example, a judge may determine that you are cohabitating and, therefore, use their authority to terminate or modify your existing alimony agreement. The only authentic and valid way to legally defend your current alimony payments is to obtain the knowledgeable, professional, and expert council of a Morris County divorce lawyer well-versed in these vital matters.

My Alimony Payments May be in Jeopardy; How Should I Proceed?

Whether you pay or receive alimony, the New Jersey laws on this subject are detailed, confusing, and always in flux. For that reason, whatever your alimony issue is, you must obtain the professional help of a skilled, thorough, and aggressive Morris County divorce lawyer who will fight tirelessly and diligently for your rights.

The Morris County-based Edens Law Group has assisted divorced clients with alimony issues since 1994. Call them today at 908-529-0353 for a complete case evaluation. Be assured that your alimony issue will be handled with the tireless and detailed commitment it deserves, no matter how complex.