Do I still have to pay alimony if my Ex is living with someone?

Alimony is often a bitter pill to swallow.  The payor may feel as though they are paying too much for too long.  The recipient may feel it’s not enough.  But once alimony has been set, what happens when circumstances change in the future and how should potential changes be handled in the drafting of your settlement agreement?

One possible change would be that the recipient begins cohabitating (this post will not address the definition or criteria that define cohabitation under NJ divorce law). Under the current law, cohabitation by party receiving alimony may provide a basis for a modification or termination of the alimony obligation.  So if you are receiving alimony and considering living with someone, you have been warned!  This principle was addressed in the recent decision of Kafader, f/k/a Navas v. Navas (http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/attorneys/assets/opinions/appellate/unpublished/a2184-16.pdf  In this decision the court reasoned that:

“In our view, the court here erred by inferring the parties agreed cohabitation would not constitute grounds supporting a modification or termination of alimony. The PSA’s language did not compel such an inference. The PSA’s silence on the issue of cohabitation may have constituted a recognition that in the absence of an express agreement, the law permits a supporting spouse to rely on cohabitation as a changed circumstance supporting the termination or modification of alimony. Ibid. We conclude the court erred by determining the parties agreed plaintiff’s cohabitation would terminate alimony …”

In confirming the current state of the law the court also touched on the issue of drafting a settlement agreement.  What happens when a topic is omitted?  Here, the court did not view that the failure to address cohabitation served as a waiver of the right to seek modification or termination as that right is already embodied in the law.  The court seems to suggest that adding such language may be an unnecessary redundancy.  I don’t disagree.

That being said, I favor erring on the side of caution even if doing so results in repetition or stating the obvious.  Doing so allows everyone to have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations.  Actions have consequences and it is better to be aware of them before hand.  At The Durst Firm we take the time to explain the law to our clients, draft Agreements that clearly express the agreements the parties have reached, and in doing so, provide guidance that can help minimize future conflicts.

 

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How long does it take to get divorced in NJ?

A question virtually all of my client’s ask is “how long will it take to get divorced?”  And my answer is usually “it depends”.  While the court system is instructed to do everything possible to resolve the case within one year of the filing of a Complaint for Divorce, some case can be resolved much quicker than that and others can take significantly longer.

The two most important drivers of the time line are the issues involved and the approach the litigants bring to the proceedings.  It is interesting to note that in my experience, the amount of money involved in a case is not necessarily indicative of a lengthy divorce.  In fact, high dollar cases often lend themselves to an expeditious resolution as it is much easier to meet everyone’s needs and expectations.  The Harvey Weinstein divorce may be one such example.  https://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/harvey-weinstein-and-georgina-chapman-agree-to-a-divorce-settlement-source/ar-BBIdpIx?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartanntp

Sadly, there are extenuating circumstances in this case that are most likely driving what appears to be a very quick resolution.

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A crystal ball for divorce?

As with anything found on the internet, the veracity and credibility of any information must be considered and the information should be taken with a grain of salt. Deciding whether to get divorced is a deeply personal decision.  When evaluating the overall status of your marriage, this link provides some interesting relationship dynamics to consider.  https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/family-relationships/7-things-science-says-predict-divorce/ss-AAu82bw?ocid=spartanntp

Do these exist in your marriage? Only you can determine that. Do they “predict” that a divorce is likely or even necessary? Probably not.

If you have questions about divorce in NJ, The Durst Firm is here to help.  With more than 18 years of experience, we are focused on family law.

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Is it time for a change?

Having just flipped the calendar to a new year, many people make New Year’s Resolutions.  Often, these resolutions concern habits or behaviors someone may want to change in order to improve their daily life.  For many people, one such change is filing for divorce.

There are multiple articles and reports that suggest January is “divorce month”.  This is not surprising.  But before committing to this course of action, consider the consequences, research your options, and be sure to seek competent legal advice.

At The Durst Firm, we do not believe it is our role to “decide” whether a client should seek a divorce or not. It is a deeply personal decision and frankly, our answer could easily appear to be self serving.  That being said, Sandy Durst, the founder of The Durst Firm, LLC, has counseled hundreds of individuals throught New Jersey as to their rights in the event a divorce will be initiated.  It is our belief that only after receiving a full assesment (which can often include realities a client may not want to hear, but needs to hear) can one make an informed decision.  Given the impact of divorce on you and your children, investing in a consultation is a sound decision.

If you are considering a divorce in 2018, The Durst Firm is here to help.  For almost 20 years we have been focused on family law.

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European Court strikes a blow to parental rights

While this is a European case and NOT a NJ / United States case it present a devastating insight into a Court’s role in balancing the best interests of a child and parental rights.  http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/against-his-parents%e2%80%99-wishes-this-terminally-ill-infant-will-be-allowed-to-die/ar-BBDsI95?ocid=spartanntp

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