In 2014, the NJ Legislature passed the Alimony Reform Act and radically altered divorce law in New Jersey.
Prior to the passage of the Alimony Reform Act, anyone who got divorced and was looking to get out of paying court-ordered alimony needed to prove that their ex-spouse was cohabitating, or living with, a new partner on a full-time basis.
s a result of the Alimony Reform Act, things are far easier for a divorced spouse to put a stop to costly alimony payments. That’s because the law loosely defined “cohabitation” to include couples who don’t necessarily live together all the time. Specifically, the law defined cohabitation as “a mutually supportive, intimate relationship.”
NJ judges can now consider eight factors when determining whether a divorced spouse’s ex is cohabitating with another person:
- Living together
- Shared responsibility for living expenses
- Intermingled finances
- Shared household chores
- Length of the relationship
- Recognition of the relationship among the couple’s family members and friends
- Alimony recipient received an enforceable promise of support from other person in the relationship
- Any additional relevant evidence
One of the reasons for the new law was that many divorced individuals, often ex-husbands, were finding it difficult to prove that their exes were engaged in new relationships. This is particularly problematic when the person’s ex is effectively living with a new partner, even if they aren’t technically married.
Jeralyn Lawrence, the former chairwoman of the NJ Bar Association and one of the people who helped to form the alimony law, said that far too many divorced spouses in New Jersey attempt to double-dip by hiding their new relationship while also receiving alimony payments. According to Lawrence, these individuals “are in a marital relationship, for all intents and purposes,” but they hide the virtual marriage in order to keep getting alimony.
For more information about the new NJ alimony law, read the NJ.com article, “Proving Your Ex Has a New Partner Is Easier under New Alimony Law.”
If you are considering filing for divorce, have already started the divorce process, or are still dealing with the ramifications of a completed divorce, a qualified family law lawyer can assist you. The successful family law and divorce attorneys at Graziano & Flynn, P.C. have decades of experience helping people to navigate the divorce courts in New Jersey. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.