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What is open durational alimony in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | family law |

At one time, if you divorced in New Jersey after a lengthy marriage, you might expect to pay (or receive) permanent alimony – but that has changed. 

In 2014, the law changed the wording of this kind of spousal support from “permanent alimony” to “open durational alimony” instead. This kind of alimony is only available when a couple has been married for 20 years or more, and it has no fixed end date.

That does not mean it will go on forever

The whole point of the change in the law was to make it easier for the court to modify alimony when it seems necessary or fair to do so. 

Some of the most common reasons that a paying spouse may seek to prematurely end their support payments include:

  • The spouse receiving alimony remarried or begins cohabitating with someone and sharing expenses as if married
  • The paying spouse loses their job and remains unemployed for at least 90 days
  • The receiving spouse has their own income which begins to exceed that of the paying spouse
  • The paying spouse becomes disabled, which causes them to retire early

In addition, the law sets up a rebuttable presumption that the alimony will end once the paying spouse reaches full retirement age (which is now 67 for most people). Before that time, the burden falls on the paying spouse to prove that the alimony should end for some reason. After that time, the burden of proof shifts to the receiving spouse to show why the alimony should be extended.

Understanding the nuances of open durational alimony isn’t always the easiest to do on your own, especially if you hope to modify its duration. Legal guidance can help you better understand your position and make a strong case in court for the results you hope to see.