Articles Posted in Alimony

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I would like to begin this blog post by thanking all those who are currently serving in the United States military and to all Veterans  that have served. Currently, there are approximately 22 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces and 1.5 million currently serving. On September 15, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling potentially affecting their military families. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in May, 2017, in the case of Howell v. Howell (No.15-1037) that a state court may not order a veteran to indemnify a divorced spouse for the loss in the divorced spouse’s portion of the veteran’s retirement pay caused by the veteran’s waiver of retirement pay to receive service-related disability benefits.

The facts surrounding case involved an Arizona court awarding Sandra Howell half of Air Force veteran John Howell’s retirement pay when the couple was divorced in 1991. Mr. Howell later became eligible for disability benefits in 2005 and elected to waive $250 of his $1,500 a month in retirement pay, which is taxable, in favor of $250 monthly disability pay, which is not taxable. The election reduced his ex-wife’s monthly divorce settlement by $125 and she went back to court requesting her half of what his pay would have been had he not chosen the election.  She won and the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed that decision.  Mr. Howell appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court which reversed the state Supreme Court’s decision.file000366641089-300x225

The Supreme Court further affirmed and clarified the prior decision that retirement pay that is received from the military as disability payments that commenced solely because of a service member’s disability is not payable to a former spouse. Mansell v. Mansell, 490, U.S. 581, 584 (1989). The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) precludes a state court, within the context of a divorce proceeding, from dividing military disability retirement pay pursuant to state property laws because the USFSPA authorizes that only disposable retired or retainer pay be counted as marital property for equitable distribution. 10 U.S.C. § 1408(a) (4) and (7).

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I was at a social event recently. A woman attending that event, after learning that I was a divorce attorney, came up to me. She told me that her ex-husband had just filed court papers seeking to modify or terminate her alimony payments. With indignation in her voice she explained that “He can’t do that because I have permanent alimony!” It was obvious that this person had taken the word “permanent” literally, and believed that her alimony rights were forever immutable. She seemed genuinely shocked when I explained, without getting into the details of her case, that even “permanent” alimony may be modified or terminated upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. Continue reading

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There are some points where federal law intersects with or affects the economic consequences of pending or finalized divorces. Recently one of those point of intersection was the topic Job-Application-SSN-300x225of conversation of a prospective client. Her concern I am sure are shared by many. The question dealt with Social Security and how one computes the 10 year requirement for derivative benefits. Continue reading

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I understand why you might not want to read this but . . . tax season is upon us.   While I am an attorney specializing in family law, I frequently come into contact with other areas of law, such as irs-300x225criminal law, school law, health law, real estate law, elder law, bankruptcy law, and so on.  While I am not a tax attorney, tax considerations do come into play in family law, especially divorces, sometimes by circumstance and sometimes by necessity.   Please note that I am not an accountant, and your divorce attorney is probably also not an accountant.  I do not intend this blog to be legal or accounting advice.  If you have any questions about your tax obligations you should definitely consult an accountant. Continue reading

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In Mills v. Mills, 447 N.J. Super. 79 (Ch. Div. 2016), the family court was confronted with the issue of whether the defendant (payor spouse) should receive a reduction in his alimony obligation3e728f0b3d0e026b62a8cb4b38918e95 upon the loss of long-term employment and his subsequent hire at a new job – at a significantly lower salary. Continue reading

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SlashI was recently perusing a periodical and came across a story about a celebrity musician who was claiming he was never married to his wife of 15 years because of a known snafu in her earlier divorce paperwork. The headline stated “Slash claims he was never married to wife of 15 years”. (http://www.metro.us/entertainment/slash-claims-he-was-never-married-to-wife-of-15-years/zsJpjE—wsgif5AIi7dW6/). For those of you who don’t know, Slash, who’s legal name Saul Hudson (which better calls to mind the fictional character Saul Goodman of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul”),  is the prolific lead guitarist of the recently reformed rock group Guns N’ Roses.  Continue reading

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In the preface to Benjamin Franklin’s famous 1758 almanac he proclaimed: “A penny saved is a penny got.” In the parlance of our times, the quote has been more commonly used to stand for “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Whether or not Benjamin Franklin, a learned economist, meant that a penny saved, as opposed to reinvested, was in fact a penny earned is up for debate. On September 12, 2016, in the case of Lombardi-v-Lombardi, the New Jersey Appellate Division addressed the issue of how alimony should be calculated in a divorce case when the parties during the marriage historically saved money. Continue reading

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In September 2014, the New Jersey Legislature amended this State’s statute on alimony.   Among thefile0001270953716 changes that the new alimony statute contains was a provision related to retirement.    The addition that the Legislature made to the alimony statute to include a provision for alimony is lengthy.  N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(j) now provides that alimony may be modified or terminated “upon the prospective or actual retirement of the obligor.”   Continue reading

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It is a well settled proposition in New Jersey that the “goal of a proper alimony award is to assist the supported spouse in achieving a lifestyle that is reasonably comparable to the one enjoyed

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while living with the supporting spouse during the marriage.”  Weishaus v. Weishaus, 180 N.J. 131, 140, 849 A.2d 171, 177 (2004); see also Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139 (1980); Crews v. Crews, 164 N.J. 11 (2000).

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When you mention Private Investigators in the context of a matrimonial dispute, most people think of what is portrayed in movies or in television of a gumshoe Detective tailing a car or hiding in the bushes, trying to get the goods on a suspected cheating spouse. While hiring a private investigator to determine whether a spouse may be engaged in an adulterous relationship remains a common reason to do so, there are a multitude of other reasons why the use of a private investigator can be an important tool for the client as well as the attorney in the preparation of a matrimonial case. This blog post will discuPrivate Investigatorss some of these circumstances, as well as some practical and legal considerations affecting the use of private investigators. Continue reading