1. New Law establishes limits and enumerates certain factors
concerning modification and termination of alimony; establishes
open durational alimony
2. New Law requires certain police vehicles to be equipped
with cameras A-2280/S-1305
3. Next community events
4. HELP WANTED- Clerk for Law Office- envelope stuffing,
misc. clerk duties Oct 1- Nov 30
1.New Law establishes limits and enumerates certain factors concerning modification and termination of alimony; establishes open durational alimony
The governor signed Senate Bill Nos. 488 this week.This law amends N.J.S.2A:34-23 to modify the types of alimony that may be awarded, establish durational limits for alimony awards, and to enumerate certain factors concerning modification and termination of alimony.
The law provides specific grounds for modification and termination when the obligor retires, loses a job or otherwise has a reduction in income, or when the obligee cohabits with another person. The law also eliminates the phrase permanent alimony from the statutes and establishes the term open durational alimony.
The law modifies the factors to be considered by the court in determining an alimony award by clarifying that when considering the standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, neither party shall have a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other. In addition to the factors set forth in the current statute, the court shall consider the nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any.
TYPES OF ALIMONY AND DURATIONAL LIMITS
Under the old law, the court could award the following types of alimony: permanent, limited duration, rehabilitative, and reimbursement.
The law amends the statute to eliminate the requirement that the court must first determine that an award of permanent alimony is not warranted prior to awarding limited duration and other types of alimony.
The durational limits established by the law provide that for any marriage or civil union less than 20 years in duration, the total duration of alimony shall not, except in exceptional circumstances, exceed the length of the marriage or civil union. The law clarifies that a determination of the length and amount of alimony is to be made by the court pursuant to consideration of all of the statutory factors set forth in subsection b. of section 1 of the law , amending N.J.S.2A:34-23. In addition, the court must consider the practical impact of the parties need for separate residences and the attendant increase in living expenses on the ability of both parties to maintain a standard of living reasonably comparable to the standard of living established in the marriage or civil union, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living.
Exceptional circumstances which may warrant deviation from the durational limits include:
(1) The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage or civil union and at the time of the alimony award;
(2) The degree and duration of the dependency of one party on the other party during the marriage or civil union;
(3) Whether a spouse or partner has a chronic illness or unusual health circumstance;
(4) Whether a spouse or partner has given up a career or a career opportunity or otherwise supported the career of the other spouse or partner;
(5) Whether a spouse or partner has received a disproportionate share of the marital estate;
(6) The impact of the marriage or civil union on either partys ability to become self-supporting, including but not limited to either partys responsibility as primary caretaker of a child;
(7) Tax considerations of either party; and
(8) Any other factors or circumstances that the court deems equitable, relevant and material.
The law specifies that alimony may be modified or terminated upon the prospective or actual retirement of the obligor.
Under the law , there shall be a rebuttable presumption that alimony shall terminate upon the obligor reaching full retirement age, except that any arrearages that have accrued prior to the termination date shall not be vacated or annulled. Full retirement age is defined as the age at which a person is eligible to receive full retirement for full retirement benefits under section 216 of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. s.416). The court may set a different alimony termination date for good cause based on specific findings of fact and conclusions of law. The rebuttable presumption may be overcome if the court determines that alimony should continue after consideration of the following factors:
(1) The ages of the parties at the time of the application for retirement;
(2) The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage or civil union and their ages at the time of the alimony award;
(3) The degree and duration of the economic dependency of the recipient upon the payor during the marriage or civil union;
(4) Whether the recipient has foregone or relinquished or otherwise sacrificed claims, rights or property in exchange for a more substantial or longer alimony award;
(5) The duration or amount of alimony already paid;
(6) The health of the parties at the time of the retirement application;
(7) Assets of the parties at the time of the retirement application;
(8) Whether the recipient has reached full retirement age as defined in the law ;
(9) Sources of income, both earned and unearned, of the parties;
(10) The ability of the recipient to have saved adequately for retirement; and
(11) Any other factors that the court may deem relevant.
If the court determines that the presumption has been overcome, then the court would apply the alimony factors set forth in subsection b. of section 1 of the law in order to determine whether modification or termination of alimony is appropriate. If the obligor intends to retire but has not yet retired, the court would establish the conditions under which the modification or termination of alimony will be effective.
If an obligor seeks to retire prior to reaching full retirement age, the obligor would have the burden of demonstrating, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the prospective or actual retirement is reasonable and made in good faith. Both the obligors application to the court and the obligees response to the application shall be accompanied by current Case Information Statements or other relevant documents as required by the Rules of Court, as well as the Case Information Statements or other documents from the date of entry of the original alimony award and from the date of any subsequent modification.
In determining whether the obligor demonstrated that the prospective or actual retirement is reasonable and made in good faith, the court shall consider the following factors:
(1) The age and health of the parties at the time of the application;
(2) The obligors field of employment and the generally accepted age of retirement for those in that field;
(3) The age when the obligor becomes eligible for retirement at the obligors place of employment, including mandatory retirement dates or the dates upon which continued employment would no longer increase retirement benefits;
(4) The obligors motives in retiring, including any pressures to retire applied by the obligors employer or incentive plans offered by the obligors employer;
(5) The reasonable expectations of the parties regarding retirement during the marriage or civil union and at the time of the divorce or dissolution;
(6) The ability of the obligor to maintain support payments following retirement, including whether the obligor will continue to be employed part-time or work reduced hours;
(7) The obligees level of financial independence and the financial impact of the retirement by the obligor upon the obligee; and
(8) Any other relevant factors affecting the obligors decision to retire and the parties respective financial positions.
If the obligor intends to retire but has not yet retired, the court shall establish the conditions under which the modification or termination of alimony will be effective.
LOSS OF INCOME
When an obligor who is not self-employed seeks modification of alimony, the court shall consider the following factors:
(1) The reasons for any loss of income;
(2) Under circumstances where there has been a loss of employment, the obligors documented efforts to obtain replacement employment or to pursue an alternative occupation;
(3) Under circumstances where there has been a loss of employment, whether the obligor is making a good faith effort to find remunerative employment at any level and in any field;
(4) The income of the obligee; the obligees circumstances; and the obligees reasonable efforts to obtain employment in view of those circumstances and existing opportunities;
(5) The impact of the parties health on their ability to obtain employment;
(6) Any severance compensation or award made in connection with any loss of employment;
(7) Any changes in the respective financial circumstances of the parties that have occurred since the date of the order from which modification is sought;
(8) The reasons for any change in either partys financial circumstances since the date of the order from which modification is sought, including, but not limited to, assessment of the extent to which either partys financial circumstances at the time of the application are attributable to enhanced earnings or financial benefits received from any source since the date of the order;
(9) Whether a temporary remedy should be fashioned to provide adjustment of the support award from which modification is sought, and the terms of any such adjustment, pending continuing employment investigations by the unemployed spouse or partner; and
(10) Any other factor the court deems relevant to fairly and equitably decide the application.
If the changed circumstances arise from the loss of employment, the length of time a party has been involuntarily unemployed or has had an involuntary reduction in income shall not be the only factor considered by the court, but rather the court shall determine the application based upon all of the enumerated factors, however, no application shall be filed until a party has been unemployed, or has not been able to return to or attain employment at prior income levels, or both, for a period of 90 days. The court shall have discretion to make any relief granted retroactive to the date of the loss of employment or reduction of income.
When a self-employed party seeks modification of alimony because of an involuntary reduction in income since the date of the order from which modification is sought, then that partys application for relief must include an analysis that sets forth the economic and non-economic benefits the party receives from the business, and which compares these economic and non-economic benefits to those that were in existence at the time of the entry of the order.
The court may establish a temporary remedy which may include: temporarily suspending or reducing support on terms established by the court; directing that support be paid in some amount from assets pending further proceedings; directing a periodic review; or entering any other order the court finds appropriate to assure fairness and equity to both parties.
Under the law , the court may suspend or terminate alimony if a payee cohabits with another person. Pursuant to the law , cohabitation involves a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage or civil union but does not necessarily maintain a single common household.
When assessing whether cohabitation is occurring, the court shall consider the following:
(1) Intertwined finances such as joint bank accounts and other joint holdings or liabilities;
(2) Sharing or joint responsibility for living expenses;
(3) Recognition of the relationship in the couples social and family circle;
(4) Living together, the frequency of contact, the duration of the relationship, and other indicia of a mutually supportive intimate personal relationship;
(5) Sharing household chores;
(6) Whether the recipient of alimony has received an enforceable promise of support from another person within the meaning of subsection h. of R.S.25:1-5 (palimony); and
(7) All other relevant evidence.
In evaluating whether cohabitation is occurring and whether alimony should be suspended or terminated, the court shall also consider the length of the relationship. A court may not find an absence of cohabitation solely on grounds that the couple does not live together on a full-time basis.
2. New Law requires certain police vehicles to be equipped with cameras A-2280/S-1305
The law requires certain municipal police vehicles to be equipped with mobile video recording systems, and increases an existing surcharge on persons convicted of driving while intoxicated to provide funding for the municipal cost of equipping police vehicles with video systems. Under the law, every new or used municipal police vehicle purchased, leased, or otherwise acquired on or after the laws effective date that is primarily used for traffic stops must be equipped with a mobile video recording system.
The law defines a mobile video recording system as a device or system installed or used in a police vehicle or worn or otherwise used by an officer that electronically records visual images depicting activities that take place during a motor vehicle stop or other law enforcement action.
The law increases, from $100 to $125, the current surcharge imposed on persons convicted of driving while intoxicated. The law provides for the additional $25 surcharge to be payable to the State, county, or municipal entity that issued the summons, and stipulates that the increased amounts payable to municipalities from the surcharge must be used for the cost of equipping police vehicles with mobile video recording systems.
3.Next community events
Seminar: Top Recent Criminal and Traffic Cases in NJ,September 30 from 5:00PM-5:45PM, Tuesday,Co-Sponsor Local 9 Retired Police & Fire Middlesex & Monmouth Chapter
Location: Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen, 2053 Woodbridge Ave, Edison, NJ 08817
10/4Shillelagh 5KBar A Lake Como, New Jersey
10/4 Sayreville Hit the Bricks 5k 9:30
10/5 Jersey Shore Half Marathon & Lighthouse 5k Sandy Hook 9am
10/6 North B Wills & Power of Attorney Seminar
North Brunswick Chapter #3885 of AARP 1:30
10/8 NJSBA Open house
10/11 Race to Outrun Hunger Roosevelt Park
10/11 Metuchen Fair
10/12 East Brunswick 5k & 10k 1pm RVRR well run eventwww.ebrr.org, post race we go to Loris Lakeside on Farrington Lake, North Brunswick
4. HELP WANTED- Clerk for Law Office- envelope stuffing, misc. clerk duties Oct 1- Nov 30
2-3 hours per day Monday- Friday start 8:55
$8.50 per hour
-Adding client names to computer database, prepare letters, and work on client traffic ticket matters.
- Preparation of documents on Computer and mail to courts
-General Office duties in Law Office
-Update mailing/ client lists and learn marketing
-All other work needed including working on personal injury cases
Must be dependable and committed to perfection.
Call Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen & Associates