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Do I Still Pay Alimony If My Ex Gets Married?
Divorce can be a difficult process, and for many people in New Jersey who are paying alimony to their former spouse, the uncertainty can be overwhelming.
Divorce can be a difficult process, and for many people in New Jersey who are paying alimony to their former spouse, the uncertainty can be overwhelming. If your ex-spouse has recently remarried, you likely have questions about whether your payment obligation continues–and if so, for how long?
At Smedley Law Group, we understand the financial stress that a divorce agreement can cause. We know that financial stability is incredibly important to you at a time when significant changes are happening in your life. We advocate for you during the establishment of alimony or spousal support and afterward, including when changed circumstances in your or your ex’s life, like a remarriage, may warrant revisiting your existing alimony arrangement.
Understanding the potential changes that could come because of your ex’s new marriage is important, especially when it comes to managing your finances. We’re going to answer some of the most common questions we hear about paying alimony when your ex remarries.
Am I Legally Obligated to Pay Alimony to My Ex If They Get Married Again?
Generally, if your ex remarries, then you no longer must make alimony payments. This is effective as soon as the new marriage is finalized. Additionally, you aren’t “on the hook” for alimony payments if that new marriage is annulled. The only exception to this rule is if you’re paying rehabilitative alimony.
What’s Rehabilitative Alimony? And Why Can’t I Stop Paying It After My Ex Marries?
There’s one type of alimony that doesn’t necessarily end when your ex remarries, and it’s rehabilitative alimony. This is a temporary type of alimony that one person is ordered to pay to help their ex-spouse transition into the workplace.
In marriages where one spouse stays home to manage the household and doesn’t work outside the home, they may have difficulty after divorce getting back into the job market. They can’t just “get a job” that can maintain their former standard of living without education or training. That’s where rehabilitative alimony comes in. The spouse who has to pay rehabilitative alimony is paying his or her ex to support themselves while they get what they need to re-enter the workforce.
The rehabilitative alimony will still be in place to help the former spouse make this transition. It’s a temporary form of alimony often with requirements on the part of the recipient to show that they’re working toward becoming independent of the support. Once this is found to have happened, the rehabilitative alimony will be discontinued. However, simply remarrying may not end this support.
Do I Have to Keep Paying Permanent Alimony If My Ex Marries?
Permanent alimony may be a bit of a misnomer. In actuality, New Jersey refers to it as open durational alimony. This is alimony that doesn’t have a specific end date and it’s only ordered when the two parties were married for more than 20 years or for extraordinary special circumstances. However, the court can modify or terminate this form of alimony if the spouse receiving the alimony either remarries or cohabitates with a new partner in a long-term romantic relationship.
Do I Have to Pay Alimony If My Ex Lives With Someone Else?
When an ex formally remarries, it’s often pretty cut and dry, legally speaking. However, if your ex moves in with someone else, the legality of ending alimony becomes a little murky.
You can’t simply stop paying alimony because your ex moves in with someone. You must petition the court to have the alimony terminated, suspended or reduced. If you do this, the court will look at the following aspects of your ex’s new relationship before making a decision:
- Does your ex and their new partner have intertwined finances like joint checking or savings accounts?
- Does your ex and their new partner share living expenses?
- Does your ex and their new partner’s family and friends recognize the relationship?
- Does your ex and their new partner share household chores and responsibilities?
- How long has your ex and their new partner been involved and lived together? How often do they have contact? Is there any evidence of a mutually supportive relationship?
One thing to note here is that just because your ex and your new partner don’t live together on a full-time basis doesn’t mean that the court will find that they aren’t cohabitating. If they live together in all other aspects, then the court may still rule in your favor.
What Happens If I Stop Paying Alimony When My Ex Marries or Begins Cohabitation?
It’s essential to note that you can’t just stop paying alimony to your ex. The termination of alimony must be approved by the court in New Jersey. If you simply stop paying the ordered alimony, your ex can take you back to court and have liens placed on your property or have your wages garnished. You can also potentially be criminally charged with contempt of court. Instead, you should petition the court for termination or suspension when your ex remarries or begins cohabitating with a new partner.
If I Marry or Live with Someone, Do I Have to Pay Alimony to My Ex?
Even if you remarry or begin cohabitating with someone, you’re still required to pay alimony to your ex. Just because you remarried doesn’t mean your ex’s finances have changed. The purpose of spousal support is to help with your ex-spouse’s finances so they can support themselves. If, however, your new marriage makes it impossible to meet the financial obligation, then you can petition for a reduction from the courts.
There’s an End in Sight With Alimony Payments
Many people who’ve been ordered to pay alimony wonder how long they’ll be financially tied to their ex-spouse. But the good news is that in New Jersey their remarriage can bring an end to paying spousal support. However, it’s important you go to court to get a termination of the alimony order. An experienced family attorney is a must to ensure this is done properly so you aren’t held legally liable if you stop paying the support.
If you have more questions about your rights and obligations with respect to alimony or spousal support in your separation or divorce case, contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn more about why having experienced legal representation in your corner can help ensure your financial rights and interests are protected.
Why Choose Smedley Law Group
At Smedley Law Group, we prioritize building strong client relationships by providing personalized guidance, prompt communication, and unwavering support to our clients throughout the legal process. Our collaborative team approach ensures that every client receives the full effort of our knowledgeable staff, enabling quick responses and comprehensive assistance. With decades of experience, a specialized practice area, and a commitment to practical solutions, we navigate complex family law matters efficiently and effectively. Clients trust us because we genuinely care about their well-being and offer a human-centered approach that sets us apart from other firms. With Smedley Law Group, our clients can expect white-glove service that goes beyond basic advocacy and provides assurance that their case is of utmost importance to our team.
Contact the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Smedley Law Group in Woodbury, NJ Today
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you’ll also most likely be dealing with another matter like child custody, child support, or division of assets, so you’ll need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group represent clients throughout the state, including West Deptford, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.