Monday, September 15, 2014
KATHLEEN KRUPINSKI N/K/A KATHLEEN GOCKLIN VS. MICHAEL KRUPINSKI A-2300-12T2
KATHLEEN KRUPINSKI N/K/A KATHLEEN GOCKLIN VS. MICHAEL KRUPINSKI
Defendant appeals 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 value of plaintiff's share of his retirement benefit was enhanced by his "post-divorce efforts." If defendant is able to quantify the value of his 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 allows her to maintain a lifestyle equal to or better than her marital lifestyle, defendant is entitled to terminate his permanent alimony obligation. We reverse and remand for limited discovery and an evidentiary hearing.