As avid readers of this blog know, New Jersey’s recently amended alimony statute has been the inspiration for many blogs posts as cases interpreting same are coming down the pike. Under the amended statute, a party may seek to terminate or modify his or her spousal support obligation based upon an actual or “prospective” retirement.

Change is finally here – On September 10, 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed into law substantial and significant amendments to New Jersey’s alimony law.  The law took immediate effect on that date.  I previously blogged about the now effective changes after the legislature passed the bill during the Summer, and we have prepared an Alert

While there are few issues more controversial in New Jersey family law than that of permanent alimony, one circumstance in which courts have been relatively consistent in rendering such an award – where the circumstances may have, without such fact, merited a different result – is where the payee spouse suffers from some form of

Wikipedia defines grey divorce as a "term referring to the demographic trend of an increasing divorce rate for older ("grey-haired") couples in long-lasting marriages."  Now while "grey divorces" of a short or mid length marriage provide challenges for a divorce attorney, many believe that divorces of long term marriages are easy.  Just whack up the assets 50-50, agree to permanent alimony and call it a day, right?  That is not an uncommon result, but does it really make sense to do so and not consider real life anticipated events such as retirement and the receipt of Social Security, to name just two. 

Typically, when marriages are longer than 20 years, the concept of permanent alimony seems like a no brainer.  When the parties are in their sixties (or maybe even late fifties) does this make sense?  What if the parties always discussed and agreed that at age 65, the husband was going to retire and planned and lived their life accordingly?  Now, at age 61, either party seeks a divorce (I was going to say the wife – but it really doesn’t matter).  Should this be a permanent alimony case? The default answer is yes but should there be more critical analysis to this? 

In this case, we can assume that all of the assets will be divided 50-50, except perhaps a business asset.  Even then, while business assets are usually disproportionately divided, for longer marriages, the non-titled spouse gets more than they would have in a shorter marriage (the fairness of this may be the subject of another post.)  In addition, it is likely that the amount of alimony afforded will not allow the payor to save substantially before the divorce and a normal retirement age in a few years hence.

If the agreement does not account for retirement, aren’t the parties just buying themselves more litigation in a few years?  Should consideration be given to allowing for retirement and the termination of alimony any time after retirement age without the need to litigate?  If that is the case and someone still works full time after the agreed upon retirement age, should alimony continue? 


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