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Clarifying New Jersey Alimony – Landau v. Landau

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently clarified a point of procedure when seeking to terminate or modify alimony in light of cohabitation in the case of Landau v. Landau. For many years, cohabitation has been the basis to terminate or modify alimony. After the Alimony Statute was modified on September 10, 2014, a list of factors was put into place for a court to consider when determining whether a dependent spouse receiving alimony was cohabiting. Some of these factors are based on financial information such as the extent to which the dependent spouse and his/her significant other share responsibility for living expenses or have intertwined finances. However, it is usually the case that the ex-spouse paying alimony in a post-divorce situation does not have financial information regarding the dependent spouse or his/her alleged cohabitant. The Appellate Division made it clear that a court cannot compel the dependent spouse or his/her alleged cohabitant to produce financial information before the court finds that a prima facia case of cohabitation has been made.

In light of this holding, however, if the court cannot compel the production of financial data of the dependent spouse and or his/her alleged cohabitant prior to the finding that a prima facie case has been made, should the financial factors included in the statutory list be deemphasized when determining whether a prima facie case has been made?

 

 

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