Retirement and Alimony in New Jersey

Retirement and Alimony in New JerseyIn the state of New Jersey, alimony may be awarded in a divorce on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the court, based on a number of factors, including, among other things:

  • How long the parties were married
  • The needs of the potential recipient vs. the ability of the other party to pay
  • The age and health of both parties
  • The lifestyle to which the parties were accustomed during the marriage
  • The potential earning capacities of each party

Though the court will enter a binding order, the amount and the requirement to pay alimony may change, based on either the circumstances or a subsequent court order. For example, if the recipient remarries or cohabitates with another person, the obligation to pay alimony will automatically be terminated (unless the divorce decree states otherwise). Furthermore, the payor may often petition the court for a reduction in alimony payments if his or her income drops significantly.

Alimony and Retirement

Often, upon retirement, a person’s income decreases, sometimes substantially. As a general rule, when a payor’s income goes down dramatically due to circumstances beyond his or her control it can provide the necessary rationale for a reduction of alimony. But can a party petition the court for a reduction of income because of retirement? Can a person retire early and ask for a reduction? It depends on the circumstances.

In New Jersey, the normal retirement age is considered to be 65. When a person reaches the age of 65, he or she may petition the court for the reduction of an alimony obligation, provide income has gone down significantly. Approval of such a motion is not automatic, though. The court will look at the facts and circumstances of the retirement to ascertain whether it was reasonable, considering such factors as:

  • The age and health of both parties
  • The extent to which the retiring party had any discretion in the decision to retire
  • The nature of the work the retiring spouse was engaged in
  • Whether the divorce agreement specified an anticipated retirement date (and whether this is earlier than that date)
  • The impact a reduction in alimony will have on the recipient

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

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