Monday, October 28, 2013

Alimony Reform Bill Would End Permanent Payments

An alimony reform bill A-3909 was introduced in the New Jersey State Assembly and S-2750 in the New Jersey Senate, that would essentially eliminate permanent alimony from the possible assignments of spousal support in divorce cases and provides a presumptive formula to determine the duration and amount of alimony. The bill is modeled after a similar bill in Massachusetts, and probably will not reach the governor’s desk until mid to late 2014.

There are currently four categories of alimony available in New Jersey: permanent, reimbursement, limited-duration and rehabilitative. Under the current law, permanent alimony can be awarded in the dissolution of a marriage exceeding 10 years in duration, although it is not common to be awarded in cases closer to the 10 year mark.

Limited-duration alimony is currently assigned according to the decision of a judge. The new law offers guidelines for setting the duration of alimony corresponding to the length of the marriage. Likewise, following the dissolution of a short-lived marriage, a formula would determine a comparably short term for alimony payments. If a marriage has lasted more than 20 years, the court would still have the option to assign alimony payments for an indefinite period of time.

The reforms also address the issue of cohabitation. At present, some alimony payers complain that their former spouse has moved in with a partner, but alimony payments must continue because they are not married. According to the new law, a payer can request suspension, modification or termination of payments if the former partner is living with a new partner, for a certain period of time.

In some cases, a divorced partner might complain that a former spouse is intentionally unemployed to continue receiving alimony payments or quit a current job to claim that financial circumstances have significantly changed. The new reforms would allow a judge to review payments to a spouse who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

Once the law goes into effect, the court will consider modifying existing alimony assignments for a period of two years.

The divorce attorneys at Murano & Roth, LLC are available to assist you in your petition for modification of alimony payments. Call our Bergen County offices at 201.265.3400 or contact us online.

This blog posting and the information on our website is for general information purposes only. Nothing within it, within any responses, comments, emails, answers, blogs or attachments, should be considered legal advice. Our website and our blogs, including this blog, does not form any attorney client relationship, and this office does not represent you in any way. Keep in mind that since only very general information is provided on our website and within our blogs, you cannot rely upon any of the information as legal advice, as it might not apply to, or be accurate relative to your specific situation and facts.

By Jason D. Roth

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