Alimony reform a hotly debated topic in New Jersey
New Jersey residents should be aware of the reasons people want to change the state's alimony laws and why some people oppose those changes.
September 11, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Alimony reform a hotly debated topic in New Jersey
Article provided by Nitti & Nitti Attorneys at Law
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Alimony can be a contentious issue in a divorce. Spouses often argue about money between themselves. In New Jersey, the debate has spread outside of married couples and into public discourse. Different groups have been arguing about the state's laws governing alimony. Two bills before the New Jersey state legislature, A3909 and S2750, would change the state's alimony laws. New Jersey residents should be aware of the reasons people want to change the state's alimony laws and why some people oppose those changes.
Proposed alimony reforms
The proposed legislation would give judges a great deal less discretion in awarding alimony than they currently have. The bills would eliminate lifetime alimony awards and set guidelines for judges to follow when determining alimony awards. The awards would be based on how long the couple was married. Additionally, the bills would amend the way the law currently defines short-term, moderate-term and long-term marriages. The bills would also allow people to re-visit current alimony awards and apply the new guidelines. The proposed changes would end current lifetime awards at retirement age of 65 or 67 years old.
Those who support the bills argue that judges have far too much discretion in awarding alimony currently, and judges are often inconsistent in awarding alimony. They claim that the reforms would put New Jersey's laws more in line with surrounding states, and are fairer to both spouses. Those in favor of reform believe that gender roles have changed, and more women are working, so lifetime alimony awards are anachronistic and unnecessary.
Opposition to reform
Many have been vocal in opposing the proposed legislation. They argue that it is unfair for current alimony awards to be subject to change because alimony recipients have relied on those payments, and they negotiated for their awards at the time believing they would last. If people knew that their payments would stop, they may have negotiated their property distributions differently. Since property from the marriage cannot be redistributed, opponents argue, alimony awards should not be reexamined and adjusted.
Opponents of the bill also believe that it is unfair for alimony recipients to incur the legal fees that they would rack up defending their already-awarded alimony payments if their ex-spouses challenge their alimony awards.
Speak with a lawyer
Alimony is just one of the many complicated aspects of divorce. People going through the tumultuous emotions that often accompany divorce should not try to navigate the divorce process alone. If you have questions about alimony or any other aspect of divorce, speak with a skilled New Jersey divorce attorney who can advise you about your specific circumstances.
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