Does New Jersey award permanent alimony anymore?

At our law firm, we realize not everyone keeps up on the legal news like we do. As such, we realize that not all of our Jersey City readers, or many more people throughout New Jersey, know about the changes made two years ago to our state’s family laws. In fact, some of these changes may be why we see questions like this one being asked:

Does New Jersey award permanent alimony anymore?

Let’s take a look.

As some of you may remember, Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill two years ago that revised our state’s alimony laws. Prior to the signing of the bill, spouses in New Jersey could request permanent alimony during divorce proceedings. If a judge agreed with the petitioning spouse, then the other spouse would be required by law to make alimony payments for as long as the order required. But not anymore.

The bill signed by Governor Christie does away with the “permanent” aspect of some alimony arrangements by giving the paying spouse the ability to request modification or termination of a spousal support order. Requests for modification or termination can be made when a paying spouse reaches their full retirement age established by the federal government.

The bill also established additional conditions that prevent permanent alimony decisions from occurring. The law now states that the length of alimony payments may not “exceed the length of the marriage.”

While the changes made two years ago will benefit couples for years to come, some people in our state say they should have happened sooner. Alimony was intended to help spouses, oftentimes women, who would have trouble supporting themselves after a divorce. But for generations now, a majority of women have been able to enter the workforce after a divorce with little trouble, making alimony payments a necessity of the past.

Of course, as so many of our readers know, sometimes it takes awhile for our laws to catch up with the changing times, as we now know was the case with alimony for decades.

Source: NJ.com, “N.J.’s alimony law: 5 things you need to know about bill signed by Christie,” Brent Johnson, Sept. 12, 2014