New Jersey changed its rules governing spousal support after a divorce, eliminating permanent alimony. The duration an ex-spouse can continue to receive spousal support cannot last longer than the years they were married to the paying party. However, if there is a request for permanent alimony, the court may grant it under exceptional circumstances.
What are the exceptional circumstances?
The primary purpose of alimony is to allow both divorcing spouses to maintain the standard of living they had while married and to balance their economic standing. Neither spouse should be at an unfair financial disadvantage because of the divorce. Exceptional circumstances that the court can consider are the following:
- The age of each spouse at the date of marriage
- The age of each spouse at the date the court awards alimony
- The degree of financial dependence one spouse has on the other while they were married
- If either spouse has a chronic illness or extraordinary health conditions
- If one spouse gave up their career or a career opportunity to provide domestic support to the other spouse
- If the division of marital assets were disproportionate
- The impact the marriage had on either spouse’s ability to become self-sufficient
- The tax considerations of each party
- If there are other equitable, relevant and material factors or circumstances
A request for permanent alimony may only be feasible if your marriage lasted more than 20 years. If the duration of your marriage is much shorter and alimony payments are about to cease, you can request to modify it.
Obtaining a new alimony order
Alimony payments can last a certain number of years. In those years, your circumstances may have changed for the worse. You could have lost your job or developed a severe health condition. The business may not be doing so well, and your income is much less than before. You can request a modification from the court if your financial circumstances change.