New Jersey may soon see alimony reform | Lane & Lane, LLC
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New Jersey may soon see alimony reform

The state of New Jersey is taking a hard look at the alimony laws. Critics of 'lifetime' alimony are seeking a way to reform the state's laws and reduce the amount and length of alimony one can be required to pay after a divorce is finalized. In the Garden State, approximately 25,000 out of 280,000 spouses who are divorce are required to pay alimony. However, those who do pay after a divorce normally are required to pay a hefty sum.

In the year of 2009, 25,000 taxpayers filing state tax returns reported they paid out $535 million in alimony, averaging approximately $21,406 per tax return. Of those paying, 97 percent were men. While advocates claim the state of New Jersey has a 'lifetime' alimony program, that is not the case. However, judges base their decisions on party negotiations and while it can be short term, it can also be indefinite depending upon the circumstances of the other spouse. When an ex-spouse remarries, the alimony will cease.

Currently, advocates of reform point out several cases where spouses were still required to pay out alimony many years after a divorce when the receiving spouse never even attempted to get a job. This situation is garnering even more notice these days due to a poor economy and job losses. The bill being released could help people like this. It would allow alimony and child support payments to be modified for those who become unemployed for over six months, provided the responsible party is attempting to gain employment and not evading work to avoid making their alimony payments.

Going through a divorce is almost always a difficult process for everyone involved but being required to pay alimony for decades can be an unfair judgment for some, especially if the receiving party decides to never remarry or gain employment.

Source: Newsworks, "For better or worse, N.J. looks at divorce and alimony," Colleen O'Dea, June 12, 2012

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