Courts have long recognized the legitimacy of non-traditional and unique family situations. When a child is born out of wedlock, courts have extended the rights and privileges of a child-parent relationship in spite of the lack of a formal marriage. In In the Matter of the Estate of Castellano, the court decided whether a child born out of wedlock could be considered a child of the man his mother was married to at the time of his birth to exclude him from inheriting from his biological father. This somewhat unorthodox case offers a variation on a common issue.
A recent New Jersey Appellate Court case, Landers v. Landers, is the first "published" decision to explain how to properly apply the September 2014 changes to New Jersey's alimony laws. The change that the Landers case ruled on was about alimony payments when the spouse with the alimony obligation (the "Obligor") retires. Before the 2014 changes, the Obligor had to show the court "changed circumstances" when applying for a modification or termination of alimony. After the 2014 changes, an Obligor who has attained his or her full retirement age (i.e. age when you can get full Social Security benefits) became entitled to a "presumption" in favor of termination of support - the spouse receiving alimony (the "Obligee") would have to rebut that and explain to the court why the payments should continue.
For many people engaged in a bitter divorce, paying alimony may seem like salt in a fresh wound. While alimony was created to allow a financially-dependent spouse to maintain the same standard of living as before the marriage's dissolution for a period of time - some former spouses take advantage of the system by secretly cohabitating with "partners" while still getting support.