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Will my alimony obligation end upon retirement under New Jersey alimony laws?

On September 10, 2015, the Governor of New Jersey signed into law an amended alimony statute. Said amended statute made a number changes in regard to alimony and retirement. According to the amended statute, there is now a rebuttable presumption that his or her alimony obligation will end upon attainting full retirement age.

 How is full retirement age defined under NJ alimony laws?

The amended alimony statute defines full retirement age when a person can collect full Social Security benefits.

Can the presumption that alimony terminates upon reaching full retirement age be rebutted under the alimony laws in NJ?

Yes, it is a rebuttable presumption. A court will consider the following factors in determining if the presumption of terminating alimony at full retirement age should be rebutted:

  • The litigants’ ages at the time of the motion for termination or modification of alimony;
  • The litigants’ ages when they married and their ages when alimony was awarded;
  • The amount and duration of economic reliance by the payee upon the other party during the marriage;
  • Whether the litigant has exchanged something of value for a longer or larger alimony award;
  • The sum and period of alimony formerly paid;
  • The litigants health when the retirement application was made;
  • The litigants’ assets at the time of retirement;
  • Whether the payee has obtained full retirement age;
  • All sources of income of both parties;
  • The party who is collecting alimony capability to have saved adequately for retirement;
  • Any other relevant factor.

Can a party who wants to retire before full retirement age terminate or modify his or her alimony obligation?

Maybe; a party who wants to retire before reaching full retirement age has the burden to demonstrate that their retirement is made in good faith and is reasonable. A Judge will review the following factors:

  • The health and ages of the litigants;
  • The occupation of the party who is paying alimony and the standard age of retirement in that profession;
  • The payor’s eligible retirement age at his or her work place, including mandatory retirement dates;
  • Whether the payor’s continued employment would not increase his or her retirement benefits;
  • The payor’s reasons for retiring. The court will inquire if any pressure was exerted by the payor’s employer to retire, or if said employer offered any incentive to retire;
  • The litigant’s reasonable expectations during the marriage in regard to retirement and their expectations at the time of divorce was entered;
  • The payor’s ability to carry on alimony payments after retirement, considering whether he or she will work part-time;
  • The effect of payor’s retirement on payee and degree of payee’s financial independence;
  • Other applicable factors influencing the payor’s decision to retire and each litigant’s economic situation.

How does a court determine whether to modify or terminate an alimony award if it was established before the effective date of the amended statute under New Jersey alimony laws?

When an alimony Order was entered before the effective date of the amended statute, the payor’s attainment of “full retirement age” shall be found to be a good faith retirement age. Further, a judge in determining whether the termination or modification of the payor’s support obligation is reasonable shall consider the payee’s capability to have saved sufficiently for the payor’s retirement and the above said factors.

Does the court consider the assets distributed among the parties by the Divorce Judgement when deciding an application to modify or terminate an alimony obligation upon retirement under NJ alimony laws?

The amended statute states that a court shall not consider assets divided among the litigants for determining the payor’s ability to pay alimony after retirement.

How do I terminate or modify my alimony obligation when I retire under New Jersey alimony laws?

You need to file a motion to modify or terminate alimony or have the other party sign a Consent Order agreeing to do the same.

Call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free initial consultation, if you have any questions concerning alimony and retirement.


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