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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

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What is the new alimony law in New Jersey?

If you remember our post last week, we discussed how the ex-spouse of a WalMart heiress is asking for $400,000 per month in alimony payments. That might have some of our New Jersey readers wanting to know how alimony works in our state. Some people might be surprised to learn that Governor Chris Christie signed the New Jersey Alimony Reform Act of 2014 on Sept. 10, 2014. Reading through these answers to common questions might help our readers to understand what changes the law made.

When did the new law go into effect?

The conditions of the NJARA went into effect the day that Gov. Christie signed it into law. This law isn't fully retroactive, so it likely won't affect many divorce cases that have already been finalized. Pending cases, even those that were filed prior to Sept. 10, 2014, will be governed by this law.

Are some cases retroactive?

There might be some older divorce cases that would qualify for a modification under the act. An example would be if there aren't any provisions in the final judgment that stipulate how issues regarding changes of alimony because of loss of income, cohabitation or retirement are handled. In those cases, it might be possible to petition the court to change a divorce judgment.

What are the new time limits for alimony?

The act stipulates that without special circumstances, alimony can't last longer than the marriage if the marriage lasted fewer than 20 years. Alimony can also end or be modified when the paying party retires. That requires a court hearing to determine what should happen with the alimony case.

There are a lot of caveats to the new law. Speaking with someone familiar with the law is the only way to ensure that you fully understand how this act applies to your case.

Source: New Jersey Alimony Reform, "New Jersey Alimony Reform Act of 2014" accessed Feb. 27, 2015

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