Open Durational Alimony in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, if individuals are married for 20 years or longer, they could be entitled to open durational alimony, which means that there is no time limit on the payments. The alimony would continue until one of the parties returned to request a modification.
If you are seeking to establish open durational alimony, contact a spousal support lawyer who could help you achieve the terms you want in your marital settlement agreement.
Schedule of Alimony Payments
The two parties can either agree to the schedule of alimony payments or it could be enforced by the court. The payments can be made periodically and are often set in accordance with the paying spouse’s paycheck. For example, the schedule is often once or twice a month. The parties can also agree to a different arrangement.
If the two parties are married for 20 years or more, then the alimony agreement would be considered open durational, and there would be no defined time limit.
The court cannot order alimony be paid in a lump sum, but that could be an agreement between the parties. The court could order that the arrears be paid in a lump sum, but not the actual alimony award.
Alimony may not be warranted if both parties make the same amount of money, if the parties were married for a short period of time, or if both of their incomes are comfortable.
Required Circumstances for Permanent Alimony
Alimony is not necessarily guaranteed for life, but if both parties were married for 20 years or more, their alimony agreement could be considered open durational, and there would not be a time limit. A proven change of circumstance could still result in an alimony modification.
If the person paying the alimony never retires, continues to work, and the parties have been married more than 20 years, the payments could potentially continue for a very long period of time. Though there is no time limit on open durational alimony, retirement is often a valid change of circumstance, and this occurs as the parties get older, so it can be rare for the payments to continue for life.
Circumstances to End Court-Ordered Alimony Payments
If there is a change of circumstances, the court can order or terminate alimony. These changes of circumstances can include:
- The person receiving the alimony gets remarried
- The person is cohabitating
- The person paying the alimony loses their job, and it is a permanent change of circumstance
- The person paying the alimony becomes disabled
- The recipient’s income begins to exceed the income of the party paying the alimony
A New Jersey Attorney Could Maximize Your Alimony
There are a number of circumstances that could extend the duration of your spousal support, but it could be difficult to achieve the agreement you want without the guidance of a legal professional who is experienced in settling alimony payments. A New Jersey lawyer could examine the specific details of your case and determine if you are eligible for an open durational alimony agreement. Call today to schedule a consultation.