Monday, February 8, 2016
Before 2014, a divorced spouse had to show that his ex-spouse shared a common residence with a new partner in order to prove they were living together and be able to stop paying alimony.
But under the Alimony Reform Act of 2014, an ex-spouse no longer has to be living full-time in the same home as another person to be engaged in "cohabitation."
More than a year after the law was passed, advocates of the new law — generally ex-husbands — say there have been improvements, but they have been more modest than they envisioned.
It's less difficult to prove cohabitation, or that an ex-spouse is in a virtual new marriage and effectively living with the new partner, and shouldn't get payments anymore. That issue was raised in a Morris County case this week in which a former husband is seeking to terminate his alimony obligation.
The change in cohabitation was made to remedy a situation where "people are in a marital relationship, for all intents and purposes, but don't get married and keep their separate homes, just so one of them can keep getting an alimony payment. That is a problem," said Jeralyn Lawrence, former chairwoman of the New Jersey Bar Association's family law section, who helped develop the new law.
When New Jersey was debating possible changes in its alimony law back in 2012, advocates of reform were hoping for sweeping changes that would benefit the payers of alimony.
Read more here.