In one of the first published decisions specifically analyzing and reviewing the revised Alimony Statute, the Appellate Division had the opportunity to review a trial court's order regarding the statute in conjunction with a parties' request to terminate or modify alimony upon retirement.
The revised Alimony statute clarified the presumptions and burdens upon applications to modify/terminate alimony upon retirement. More specifically, prior to the revisions going into effect on September 10, 2014, the party seeking to modify their alimony obligation (i.e., the payor) had the burden of proving changed circumstances warranting the modification. The revised statute shifted the burden to the party opposing the modification by creating a presumption in favor of the retiree to terminate their support obligation--if the support order was drafted and filed subsequent to the date of the enactment of the legislation. However, if the support order was entered prior to the date of the enactment of the legislation (September 10, 2014) then the presumption did not exist and the burden remains with the party seeking the modification.
In the case at bar, Landers v. Landers, the trial court failed to appropriately apply the revised statute in that it credited the retiree/payor with the presumption of termination when the presumption did not apply since the original support order had been entered prior to the enactment of the legislation.
If you are facing a question as to your rights related to alimony in light of retirement, please call our office today.