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Wednesday, July 16 2014

Your family law attorneys in New Jersey want to keep you informed with the latest information on New Jersey news. Alimony can create difficult situations for all parties involved. The bill, passed this week, would eliminate the idea of “permanent alimony��? and forbid extending payments in excess of the number of years a marriage lasted, in most cases. Contact your family law attorneys in NJ for more information.

 

NJ Bill Limiting Duration of Alimony Awaits Christie's Signature or Veto.

Source: NorthJersey.com 

After months of trying to strike a deal on alimony reform — an issue that touches on the emotional topic of financial independence after divorce — lawmakers have passed a compromise bill that now waits for Governor Christie’s signature or veto.

The bill, passed this week, would eliminate the idea of “permanent alimony��? and forbid extending payments in excess of the number of years a marriage lasted, in most cases. For instance, if a marriage ended after five years, the payments could continue only for another five years.

In addition, the measure before Christie would make the age of retirement — a point in life when alimony can often be reduced — more definitive. Currently, people have the sometimes difficult task of proving they are retired and not simply trying to get out of paying alimony. By specifying a specific age, the bill would make it easier for payers to claim they are retired.

Still, the bill does not substantially affect current divorces and doesn’t set clear, predictable guidelines for judges to follow when awarding alimony — measures that advocates fought hard for and that were part of a reform package in Massachusetts that passed there in 2011.

Alimony reform frequently comes up at Christie’s town-hall-style events and has brought dozens of advocates to the State House. Those who spoke at committee hearings provided personal and emotional testimony about how alimony and its long-term obligation affected them by either giving them security or destroying them financially.

In December, reformers and lobbyists interested in moderate changes were far apart on the issue. A frenzy of negotiations in late June, with the end-of-month budget deadline acting as a way to impose a timeline on negotiations, resulted in both sides agreeing to compromise.

“The legislators kind of put a cage around us and said you are going to fight inside this cage and we aren’t coming out until the fight is finished,��? said Tom Leustek, president of New Jersey Alimony Reform.

Reform efforts have been driven by personal stories — statistics on the system’s problems are hard to find. On the website for New Jersey Alimony Reform, a group advocating for major changes, there is a whole section of entries called “horror stories.��? They detail stories, without names and the ability to verify every account, of ex-spouses using alimony as welfare, bankruptcy because of alimony, fake domestic violence claims as a negotiating device and a general inability to ever move on.

Alimony’s point is to protect someone who sacrificed earnings potential for his or her family from being financially devastated after a divorce. The National Organization for Women points out that women are usually the ones who find themselves in this situation. The classic story, which reform advocates say is mostly outdated, is that of a wife who didn’t pursue her own career in order to focus on her family, only to be left with nothing by a husband who wanted out. In such a situation, alimony provides the wife with money owed to her because of the work she put into the marriage.

In March 2013, when reforms were first being introduced, the New Jersey chapter of NOW was for the current laws.

“This has to be discussed in the context of women in society,��? said Deb Huber, president of the New Jersey chapter of NOW. The bill on Christie’s desk, she said, presented a compromise from the previous “draconian��? versions of the bill 

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If you're looking for a divorce lawyer in NJ, contact DeGrado Halkovich LLC today. 

 

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