A new bill proposed by the New Jersey legislature would curtail the ability of ex-spouses to receive permanent alimony after the dissolution of their marriage. According to the Asbury Park Press, the new regulations, constructed with bipartisan support from Sean T. Kean (R-Monmouth) and Charles Mainor (D-Hudson), places caps on the length of spousal support dependant on how long the two spouses were married, as opposed to an examination of income alone. The change has many in the state cheering for what they feel is long overdue reform to a system that can lock ex-spouses into supporting their former partners financially for the rest of their lives – even if they lose their job, even if their income drastically shrinks due to a demotion or new position.
The Need for Judicial Discretion
The law still allows for judicial discretion that is crucial in the majority of divorces cases involving spousal support. Legislation introduced this week provides a sliding scale for judges to utilize in determining alimony payments based on the relative length of the marriage. For example:
- Marriage of Civil Union Lasting Five Years or Less: the term for alimony payments can be no longer than half the months that the marriage or union actually lasted.
- Marriage or Union Lasting Longer than 20 Years: court still has complete discretion to set the length and terms of alimony payments under new bill.
- Retirement Age and Alimony: spousal support would end once paying spouse reaches retirement. Under the current law, this is not the case.
The bill will now head into a review by a judiciary committee, though local lawmakers reportedly say they’d like the new regulations to head to the law and public safety committee for clearance before heading to the Assembly for a vote. If successful, the new regulations would take effect on October 1, 2013.
So, where do you come down on the proposed reforms?
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in New Jersey the Best Defense
Determining proper spousal support can be the one of the most hotly contested issues in dissolution of marriage or a civil union. Both sides want protection, and having an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney behind you can make all the difference when it comes to the final payment structure and the length of alimony payments. Paying more than your fair share isn’t an option any more than getting less than what you deserve is. You want to make certain that the process is fair, and that the judge has all the relevant information to make an informed decision.
Regardless of the new rules, you’ll need the services of a law firm that has in-depth knowledge of the alimony process, and has a reputation for working hard for their clients. Those are services points we can easily provide. If you’re going through a divorce, or believe it’s time to dissolve your marriage, contact our law office today to explore your legal options. It’s your life, we’ll help you handle it the right way.