How New Alimony Statute will Effect Millennials and Generation XSeptember 19, 2014
The alimony reform movement aligns with the changes in family dynamics in Millennials and Generation X. Couples are entering marriage later in life after completing secondary education and beginning their careers. The new alimony laws reflect these changes and recognize that upon divorce, the spouses are not necessarily on unequal ground with regard to earning capabilities. The notion that one partner requires support for life is becoming antiquated in generations where women outnumber men and colleges and universities. That being said, some new laws contain a formulaic approach to the alimony calculation, which removes a courts ability to analyze the unique circumstances of each family to determine fair and equitable awards. The extent to which the new law will affect future alimony awards is unknown, but they will certainly require skilled counsel to assist clients in understanding the changes and how they might be applicable to their particular case. The new law has implications for younger adults that are marrying and may now require planning at the outset with the use of premarital agreements and other mechanisms to ensure ongoing support in the event of divorce. Brach Eichler's family law department stands poised to assist anyone dealing with a matrimonial controversy or is planning to marry and can assist with questions and concerns involving how these sweeping new changes may affect them.
Amendment to Premarital Agreement StatuteJune 27, 2013
The New Jersey State legislature recently made a significant modification to the Premarital Agreement Statutes, N.J.S.A. 37:2-32 and 37:2-38, that will not only affect agreements drafted after the effective date of June 27, 2013 but also agreements entered into prior. The important modification removes the ability to set aside a premarital agreement based on unconscionability at the time of enforcement. According to the amendment, a premarital agreement may only be set aside if the agreement was entered into involuntarily or the agreement was unconscionable at the time of execution.
A premarital agreement will be found unconscionable if at the time of execution a party:
(1) Was not provided full and fair disclosure of the earnings, property and financial obligations of the other party;
(2) Did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided;
(3) Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party; or
(4) Did not consult with independent legal counsel and did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, the opportunity to consult with independent legal counsel
The statute will apply to all agreements entered into or voluntarily revised after June 27, 2013. While the statute strengthens the power of premarital agreements, it also raises some significant questions as to how courts will interpret addendums made to preexisting agreements since courts generally do not enforce mid-marriage agreements finding them to be “inherently coercive.” Pacelli v. Pacelli, 319 N.J.Super 185, 191 (App. Div. 1999).
If you have questions regarding how the amendment will affect your existing premarital agreement or if you are contemplating drafting an agreement, please contact us to discuss your legal options.
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