After many years of negotiation, Governor Chris Christie has signed a new alimony law for New Jersey. Family law attorneys in the state may find a surge of business as alimony payers look for relief under the new law, and law firms can use Easysoft Legal Software’s CIS software to recalculate fresh alimony agreements. Here are three key areas of the new bill.
Alimony Ends At Retirement
The most touted feature of the new law is the end of permanent alimony. Alimony payers can ask for alimony to end once they reach the federal retirement age of 67. This removes a significant burden to payers that prevented many of them from retiring.
This is one provision of the law that applies to all alimony in New Jersey, not just new divorce settlements. A payer currently under a permanent alimony agreement can petition the court upon reaching retirement age and ask that the alimony payments end. Attorneys calculating new agreements can use the payor’s age as a cutoff when calculating alimony buyout amounts.
Alimony Agreements No Longer Than The Marriage
Under the law, new alimony agreements cannot be longer than the marriage itself, unless the marriage lasted twenty years or more. So if a couple was married for five years, then the alimony agreement can’t be longer than five years. As with any aspects of the divorces settlement, this limit can be waived by the court in the event of special circumstances, but it will apply to most divorces.
This will not only relieve the burden on the payor but will also simplify aspects of divorce settlement such as alimony buyout. CIS case information statement software includes a calculator to determine how much an alimony agreement is worth if paid as a lump sum, but these calculations were tricky for permanent alimony. With a definite limit, such as five years, it will be easier for the software to determine a fair alimony buyout amount.
Alimony And Unemployment
There has been an unwritten rule in New Jersey that judges will reduce, suspend or eliminate alimony payments if the payor has been out of work for a year or longer. One objection is that a year is too long for someone to have to pay alimony when there is no money coming in. Another is that, as an unwritten rule, there was no guarantee a judge would consider unemployment to be a valid reason to lower payments.
The new law specifies anyone out of work for three months or longer can ask the court to adjust the payments. This can be a great relief to someone paying alimony who is obligated to make payments even at the risk of losing the house or being unable to buy food. New alimony agreements can be created in CIS for presentation to the court.
As more changes come, Easysoft Legal Software will stay in front of new laws and update CIS accordingly.