Alimony, Child Support, Division of Assets after Death

Protecting the Futures of Clients across Ridgewood, Hackensack, Paramus, Teaneck, Fort Lee and Bergen County

It’s unpleasant to consider what will happen after we die, but if you’re in the middle of divorce or child support litigation and the division of assets, now is the time to start planning for that eventuality. 

Generally support obligations, alimony or child support, end upon the death of the payer. Whether you eventually pay or receive child support and/or alimony payments as a result of the divorce decree, it is important to understand when or whether these support obligations will end. If you believe you will receive payments, it´s imperative to know what rights you may have against your ex-spouse’s estate, in addition to any retirement or pension benefits.

Under more amicable circumstances, the assets you worked so hard to acquire over the course of your life, can help secure your family´s financial future. Sadly few individuals take the time to plan ahead.

The Family Law attorneys of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark have extensive experience helping clients with child support, and alimony settlements, in addition to wills, trusts and estate planning. While the subject matter may not be the most pleasant, we urge our clients to view the process as leaving their families in good hands. As the saying goes, “it is better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it”. Our firm takes pride in offering legal services to families in local Bergen County communities including Hackensack, Paramus, Ridegwood, Teaneck, Fort Lee, and across all of Northern New Jersey.

Call our office today for a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced and qualified attorneys regarding your financial situation and to learn more about how to make sure the division and distribution of your assets is done correctly.

Does Child Support End If My Ex-Spouse Dies?

Child support in New Jersey does not automatically end when the payor spouse dies, and generally isn’t an issue unless the deceased has children from multiple marriages, and each sues for a portion of the estate. In Grotskey v. Grotskey, New Jersey courts affirmed the power to enter a child support award for a child that survives their father’s or mother’s death. Thus, continuing payments of child support would come from the deceased spouse’s estate.

Will I Still Receive Alimony After My Ex-Spouse Dies?

There is no legal obligation for the estate of the deceased ex-spouse to make future alimony payments to the surviving former spouse. Under a divorce settlement, the spouses can agree to have alimony continue for a period of time following the payer spouse’s death. Lacking such a provision, alimony will automatically terminate upon death.

In New Jersey alimony also automatically terminates when the supported spouse:

  • begins to cohabit/live with a new girlfriend or boyfriend
  • remarries
  • dies

What Happens to Pension and Retirement Benefits After My Ex-Spouse Dies?

A pension accrued or earned during the marriage is considered “marital property” and is typically divided between the spouses in a divorce. Even if the ex-spouse who earned the pension (or retirement) dies before the benefits vest, the other ex-spouse is still entitled to those benefits if it was part of the divorce decree.

What is the New Jersey “reasonable security” provision?

NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-23 or “reasonable security” provision has at times been used by the Appellate and Supreme Court to assure the financial protection of the former spouse and children in alimony and child support orders. This liberal interpretation allows courts to require a payor under appropriate circumstances and for good cause (e.g., financial position of the other spouse, lack of equitable distribution, ill health, inability to work, etc.,) to maintain life insurance on their life to secure the “due fulfillment” of a support order or create a trust fund to “provide some measure of security… for the payment of alimony in the event of [payor’s] death”.

 

CONTACT OUR BERGEN COUNTY, NJ CHILD & SPOUSAL SUPPORT LAWYERS TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys take pride in helping our Bergen County clients in Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, Fort Lee, and across towns all over Northern New Jersey. Our firm focuses exclusively on family law, which allows our attorneys to stay up-to-date with the most recent trends and law changes that may affect you and your family.

There is no concrete formula for determining financial support, which means that these arrangements are highly variable and may be decided on a case-by-case basis. With the potential for such dramatic inconsistencies in outcomes, it is essential to enlist a knowledgeable family law and divorce attorney who can aggressively advocate for your interests. Our seasoned legal professionals are well-versed in the case law on this issue and we leverage 75 years of combined knowledge to make a compelling case for your desired result.

To speak with one of our qualified and experienced family lawyers in a free and confidential consultation, please contact us online or call our Hackensack, NJ offices by dialing (201) 285-5985 today.