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New Alimony Statute Does not Trump a Prior Agreement Between Parties

By Snyder & Sarno on April 12, 2016


The new alimony statue regarding retirement states: “There shall be a rebuttable presumption that alimony shall terminate upon the obligor spouse or partner attaining full retirement age.”  However, in Healing v. Healing, it was made clear that the new statute does not trump a prior agreement between the parties. 

Prior to the effective date of the new statute, the husband, the obligor, agreed in a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) to pay non-modifiable permanent alimony to the wife in the amount of $250 per week.    The PSA clearly stated that the alimony was non-modifiable and even specified certain circumstances that would be deemed irrelevant. These included loss of employment, illness, inability to work, increased income, or inflation or increased costs and expenses.  The PSA stated that both parties considered these events in entering into the PSA. 

Subsequent to the entry of the PSA, the husband became ill and retired. The trial judge determined that the husband’s alimony obligation was non-modifiable and ordered him to continue paying. The husband appealed, arguing that the retirement provision in the new alimony statute was applicable.  However, the Appellate Division determined that the new alimony statute only applies if the parties have not already entered into an agreement or if the court has not already entered an order. Thus, the husband’s non-modifiable permanent alimony obligation remains.

If you have an issue with alimony, contact the skilled matrimonial attorneys at Snyder & Sarno, LLC.  The attorneys at Snyder & Sarno are experienced in handling cases where the parties share children.  Call us today at (973) 274-5200.

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