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New Jersey considering alimony reform

New Jersey legislatures are considering a new bill that would change how the state determines alimony payments.
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    December 31, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Stories are emerging of spouses falling into financial distress due to required alimony payments. highlighted the story of one man sent to prison because he was unable to make the payments. Critics of the current system are calling for reform, and legislators are listening. In a show of action, a new bill was recently introduced that addresses this issue, providing factors to help guide judges when making alimony determinations.

Details of the bill

The bill, Assembly No. 3909, was introduced for consideration on March 7 of 2013. One provision of the bill would eliminate permanent alimony. Instead, the bill aims to establish a set of guidelines that would assist in determining the amount of alimony appropriate for each situation, as well as an end date.

The types of alimony proposed within the bill include rehabilitative, limited duration and reimbursement. The bill also provides a series of considerations to assist the court when making its determination. The considerations listed include:
- Need. The court can weigh the actual need of each party as well as the ability of the other party to make the payment.
- Duration. The court can also consider the length of marriage prior to the separation.
- Standard of living. The court can review the standard of living that each spouse was accustomed to during the marriage and attempt to set up payments to help allow each spouse to maintain a "reasonably comparable" lifestyle.
- Job preparation. The court can also consider the time and cost it would take a spouse to properly prepare for returning to the job market, if needed. This could include the cost of additional education.

The bill offers thirteen different factors, with the thirteenth allowing a court to consider any factors it may deem relevant. As a result, how each individual case is presented will play a role in the determination.

In addition, durational limitations are outlined with some specificity. Under the bill, marriages or civil unions that were five years or less lead to payment of alimony for a time period spanning one half the life of the marriage or less. Marriages that were five to ten years can qualify for payments spanning 60 percent the length of the marriage, 10 to 15 years of marriage results in qualification for 70 percent the length of the marriage, 15 to 20 years receive up to 80 percent and over 20 years qualify for court discretion for an indefinite period of time.

Importance of legal counsel

Regardless of whether this bill is passed or not, the conversation reiterates the point that legal counsel serves an important role in a divorce proceeding. These professionals help to better ensure your case is properly represented, increasing your odds of a successful outcome.

Article provided by Law Offices of Douglas I. Krompier MBA LLC
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