Is Permanent Alimony Really Permanent?

In a recent opinion of Healing v. Healing, App. Div. April 4, 2016, our Appellate Division made it very clear that the language in the new alimony statute does not modify agreements entered into prior to the date of the new statute.

N.J.S.A. 1A:34-23(j)(1), the new alimony statute, states, in part, “There shall be a rebuttable presumption that alimony shall terminate upon the obligor spouse or partner attaining full retirement age.”  It is specifically presented in the statute that the new statute does not and “shall not be construed either to modify the duration of alimony” previously agreed upon and incorporated into an enforceable agreement already executed by the parties.

What about a change in circumstances?  What if there had really been a significant modification of the parties financial picture such that it would make the deal inequitable and unfair?   Are family courts not courts of equity and fairness?  Consequently, should negotiated agreements intended to be enforceable not be enforceable?

If you have an agreement that you need reviewed, contact one of our family law attorneys.


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