Articles Tagged with alimony

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In an unpublished decision in the matter of  T.M. v. R.M., A-4724-16T3 (App. Div. April 5, 2018), the Appellate Division considered a plaintiff’s appeal of the trial court’s denial of his motion to modify his alimony and child support obligations based on changed circumstances. At the time of the parties’ divorce, the plaintiff was earning a salary of $100,000 per year as a limited partner with OTR. In 2011, plaintiff lost his job and was unemployed for eighteen months. The plaintiff became employed again in 2012, earning $38,400 per year.

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At the time of divorce, defendant was attending nursing school. Pursuant to the  parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA), the plaintiff agreed to pay the defendant $3,000 per month in permanent alimony, and “$1,000 per month payable twice a month in child support.” The MSA stipulated these figures were based on plaintiff’s yearly income of $100,000, and no income for defendant. The MSA also obligated plaintiff to pay defendant seventeen percent of his annual gross earnings exceeding $100,000, and maintain medical insurance. The MSA stated defendant was working toward her nursing degree, and was expected to graduate in December, 2013. The MSA anticipated defendant would become employed because it stipulated a review of spousal support would occur one year after defendant’s graduation. The MSA stated if defendant did not complete her education, an income would be imputed to her.

In 2015, the plaintiff filed a motion seeking modification of his alimony and child support obligations. The Plaintiff argued that he had experienced a permanent change in circumstances as a result of the change in his income. Specifically, the plaintiff stated he earned $38,400 in 2014, $43,000 in 2015, and that he expected to earn $50,000 at the time of the hearing. The plaintiff also argued the parties’ MSA provided for a built- in review period tied to defendant’s attainment of a college degree and job. In addition, plaintiff argued a reduction in child support was warranted because one son had completed college, was employed full time, and was thus emancipated; their other son had entered college.

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The legal fees incurred with regard to a divorce can be substantial. I have written several blog posts in the past cautioning litigants of how their decisions and actions during a divorce matter can dramatically impact the level of legal fees that can be generated, and the ways litigants can reduce or limit those fees. 1040-300x193The more legal fees incurred, the less money there is in the marital pot to be divided between the parties, to have available for future needs and expenses (college educations, retirement, etc.), and/or income to pay support or one’s own living expenses. Continue reading

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At the end of 2017, Congress passed the long awaited Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which was a sweeping tax reform act that broadly file000802276456-300x225amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.  Tax rates were lowered in general for businesses.  As for individuals, the tax code may be more simplified as the standard deduction and family tax credits were increased, while most personal exemptions were eliminated.  New Jerseyans may have heard and may be disappointed by limiting deductions  for state and local income taxes and property taxes (capped at $10,000), and limiting the deduction for mortgage interest.  Continue reading

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Most people would be shocked to find out that an individual who obtains a final restraining order against their spouse could be ordered to pay alimony to support his/her abuser. The Prevention offile000388004075-3-200x300 Domestic Violence Act (“Act”) specifically states that victims of domestic violence are entitled to financial support from their abusers. However, the Act is silent on whether a victim of domestic violence who is also the income producing spouse has to support the abuser. Continue reading

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file00032137357-300x225The 2017 Tax Reform Act has been signed into law by President Trump. This law significantly changes the tax liability of individuals. For individuals, it preserves the marriage penalty forcing dual income households to file jointly to increase their tax bracket or face the faster escalated tax rates imposed on those married filing separately. The intermediate tax haven for married persons filing separately or head of household is preserved, allowing for some planning in divorce proceedings with regard to filing status. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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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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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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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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