Divorce often causes conflict between divorcing people, and alimony is known to be particularly contentious in some cases. Alimony exists as a result of a history of gender and sex discrimination, wherein women were expected to put their own goals aside to care for their spouses and children. Men were expected to earn more and usually did, given greater opportunities to do so, so then under alimony, men were expected to make payments to their ex-wives until they remarried or became self-supporting. As the continued push of steady activism has begun to push back on unjust limitations for gender roles and gender discrimination, regulations and boundaries around what alimony is have also started to shift. New Jersey in particular has relatively recently seen a few changes to how alimony functions. This blog will discuss permanent or open-durational alimony in New Jersey as it stands today. For any questions regarding divorce or alimony, contact a Union County alimony attorney. We’ll use our many years of experience to inform and guide you.
Is Alimony Ever Permanent in New Jersey?
Open-durational alimony was previously known as permanent alimony in New Jersey. Although open-durational alimony is the correct term today, permanent alimony is still commonly used.
Given the evolution and coexistence of terms for alimony, we shouldn’t be surprised that there is some confusion about what the law says. New Jersey alimony laws changed in 2014, when Alimony Bill A845 was passed. The intention behind Alimony Bill A845 was to clarify guidelines around alimony and in particular, those around permanent alimony. This was the bill that changed the term to open-durational alimony, as permanent alimony was a bit of a misnomer. It wasn’t necessarily always permanent.
Alimony Bill A845 also changed the duration of alimony, which could no longer last more than the length of the marriage, unless the marriage lasted 20 years or more. As an example, if a marriage lasted 15 years, then typically alimony won’t be paid longer than 15 years.
Open-durational alimony exists in contrast to limited-duration alimony, which is a set monthly amount paid for a set number of years. Although open-durational alimony doesn’t last longer than the marriage lasted, operational-duration alimony is often used by divorcing people who fall into the exception, those whose marriages lasted over 20 years. In these cases, open-durational alimony continues indefinitely, until or unless the former spouse receiving it remarries or a significant change happens, such that the law permits an alimony modification or termination.
If you have any further questions regarding alimony in New Jersey or you need guidance with any family law matter, please don’t hesitate to contact Ross & Calandrillo, LLC today.