Alimony Reform – Goodbye To Permanent Alimony
Alimony reform was passed last month and that means goodbye to permanent alimony.
Catherine M. Rodriguez, of Filler Rodriguez LLP was on the Family Law Legislative Committee and involved with many of the legislative changes occurring in 2023.
The most significant change is that the new alimony law eliminates a spouse’s right to permanent alimony. Also, importantly the new alimony law allows a payor spouse to retire and terminate and/or modify the alimony based on retirement and specifically lists new factors for the court to allow the termination or reduction in alimony based on retirement.
Another big change in the alimony reform bill is the definition of the types of marriages. A short-term marriage is a marriage of 1 to 10 years; a moderate term marriage is 10 to 20 years and a long-term marriage is 20 plus years. Within those categories of marriage, there are the following types of alimony in the alimony reform bill: temporary alimony; bridge the gap; rehabilitative; durational. Bridge the gap alimony which historically has been used for very short-term marriages, may not exceed 2 years. Rehabilitative alimony which is a type of alimony designed to get a non-working spouse gainfully employed figures prominently into the alimony reform bill. Rehabilitative alimony cannot exceed 5 years and requires a specific plan to be put in place for the spouse to get back into the work force and be gainfully employed.
The term of an alimony award for durational alimony is as follows:
for short term marriages alimony cannot exceed 50% of the length of the marriage; for moderate term marriages alimony cannot exceed 60% of the length of the marriage and for long term marriages alimony cannot exceed 75% of the length of the marriage. A court considering the issue of alimony in the new alimony reform law can award a variety of alimony and is not limited to one type.
The burden of proof to be entitled to alimony is now on the spouse seeking alimony to prove a need. The alimony reform statute also specifically factors in adultery and supportive relationships prominently as considerations for the court in whether to award alimony.