On September 10, 2014, almost after 3 years of legislative and public debate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the Alimony Reform Act. In our previous blog entitled “Ocean County Family Law Explains In Depth The Recent Changes Made To New Jersey’s Alimony Law And How It Might Affect You (Part 1),” we explained the changes made to the factors for determining alimony and its duration. In this blog, we will continue explaining additional amendments to New Jersey’s alimony law, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.

Modification Of Alimony Applications Based On Changes In Circumstances

In addition to what had been previously discussed in our earlier blog, the revised alimony law also allows for a modification based on the supporting spouse’s application stemming from a qualifying change in circumstance. Otherwise stated, for a self-employed spouse to obtain relief, his or her application must provide an analysis of the economic and non-economic benefits for the party if there is an involuntary reduction of income. The modification of a non-self-employed supporting spouse may be based on loss of income or loss of employment and application may only be filed after 90 days of being unemployed, or unable to obtain or return to the same level of employment prior to being unemployed. In this view, the courts will have to review the following factors:

  • loss of income reasons
  • supporting spouse’s efforts to seek employment
  • effort to find employment
  • income of the supporting and recipient spouses

Factors For Defining Cohabitation For Modification Or Termination Of Alimony

Before the changes were made to the alimony law, courts in New Jersey routinely decided cases involving the modification or termination of alimony after a supporting spouse has learned that their dependent former spouse has “taken up” with another, which is referred to as cohabitation in New Jersey. This has been a source of frustration for supporting spouses because the dependent spouse may be concealing changes to his/her financial circumstances especially if their new partner is financially supporting them and receiving monies from their former spouse or is supporting the new partner. The new law codifies recent opinions on this matter, which precludes a finding of cohabitation based on the fact the dependent spouse and new partner live separately. When determining whether to modify or terminate the alimony award based on cohabitation, the new law has added the following factors for the courts to consider:

  • whether the dependent spouse’s and new partner’s finances are intertwined
  • who is responsible for their living expenses
  • is their relationship recognized in their social circles
  • how frequent are they living with each other
  • period of their relationship
  • division and split of household chores
  • has the dependent spouse received a promise of support from their new partner

    The Bronzino Law Firm: Knowledgeable Ocean County Alimony Lawyer

    If you reside in Brick, New Jersey or Ocean and Monmouth Counties, including the surrounding areas, please call our office at (732) 812-3102 to discuss these recent changes to the alimony law and how they may affect your case.