For most people, divorce is a financially difficult time. Whereas a couple has had the ability to rely on each other and pool their resources, after the divorce, each spouse will have to figure out how to make ends meet without the benefit of the emotional and financial support of the other spouse. When one spouse earns substantially less income than the other spouse, it is possible that the court may order alimony payments. After divorce, it is common for one or both spouses to move on and remarry. If you are receiving alimony payments, you should understand how those payments will be impacted by remarriage.
In many divorce decrees, there will be a provision that specifically states what will happen to alimony payments if the receiving spouse remarries. Especially where parties came to an agreement settling their divorce, there are likely provisions in the agreement dictating whether the alimony will stop due to remarriage. Some of these agreements may even specifically state that alimony is not modifiable based on remarriage of the receiving spouse. However, not all decrees or agreements will have a provision discussing remarriage. New Jersey law provides that when the divorce decree is silent, alimony will automatically terminate if the supported spouse remarries or enters into a civil union. This does not apply, however, if the alimony is rehabilitative alimony, which is designed to help the receiving spouse raise his or her earning capacity. Moreover, if the alimony was paid as a lump sum, that is not subject to modification just because the receiving spouse later remarries.
Some people will try to get around this provision by refusing to get married, and instead just live like a married couple without actually formalizing the relationship. However, a paying spouse can still ask to have the payments reduced or even eliminated if the receiving spouse is cohabitating with a paramour and they conduct themselves like a married couple. The court will look at issues such as whether their finances are combined, whether they share financial responsibility for living expenses, the duration of the relationship, and whether they share household chores, just to name a few factors.
We have extensive experience helping our clients with all stages of family litigation, ranging from establishing paternity to post-divorce alimony litigation. Call us today for a consultation.
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