Alimony & Spousal Support

Court Must Consider Receipt of Equitable Distribution Retirement Benefits to Determine Spouse’s Post Divorce Alimony Benefits

In the family law, alimony litigation case of Krupinski v. Krupinski, 20-2-5120, App. Div., defendant appealed from the order of the Family Part denying his motion to terminate his obligation to pay permanent alimony. Although the motion judge found defendant’s retirement created “changed circumstances” under Lepis, the judge did not consider whether plaintiff can maintain her former marital lifestyle after she began receiving her equitable distribution share of defendant’s pension. Although under N.J.S.A.2A:34-23(b), the share of retirement benefits that has been equitably distributed is not “income” to plaintiff for purposes of determining alimony, defendant must be given the opportunity to prove that the plaintiff’s share of his retirement benefit was enhanced “post divorce efforts”. If defendant is able to quantify and value post divorce efforts, the court must then consider that “enhanced value” as “income” to plaintiff and outside the bar in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b).  If this “income” to plaintiff allowed her to maintain a lifestyle equal to or better than her marital lifestyle, then defendant is entitled to terminate his permanent alimony obligation.  The Family Part order was reversed and remand for limited discovery and an evidentiary hearing.

Reference: Case & Analysis; New Jersey Law Journal, 217N.J.L.J.790

(September 8, 2014)

Filed Under: Family Law; Alimony: Retirement Benefit; Enhanced Value of Retirement Benefits.

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