WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF RETIREMENT ON ONE’S ALIMONY ENTITLEMENT / OBLIGATION ?
One of the more common questions we get from our clients has to do with the impact of retirement on the issue of alimony.
The answer is found in NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-23 (2014). Which section applies depends upon whether the retirement is pursuant to an Agreement or Final Judgment entered after the effective date of the most recent alimony amendment j(1), an “early’ retirement j(2) or a retirement pursuant to an Agreement or Final Judgment of Divorce entered BEFORE the Amendment to the alimony statute. j (3).
The burden and analysis in cases dealing with a retirement pursuant to j(1) or j(3) are similar. Any retirement that is at “full age” , which is defined as eligibility to receive full retirement benefits under Social Security, is presumed to be “in good faith.” Once the Court is faced with a retirement that is in ”good Faith”, the Court must then examine certain factors to determine what the impact will be on the alimony issue. If it is a retirement pursuant to j(3) , there is an enhanced or elevated factor to be considered, that is, the recipient’s ability to have adequately saved for retirement.
Other factors include the age of the parties, their health,the degree of economic dependency of the recipient upon the payor, the duration of alimony already paid, the assets of the parties and their income. Once the Court evaluates all of these factors, the Court then has the authority to modify, eliminate or sustain the alimony obligation.
If you are contemplating retirement and have a current alimony order in place, it is important to consult with an attorney to determine your course of action prior to retiring.