At any given day, there are several topics that are on the table for debate. In the area of family law, and especially in New Jersey, the topic of alimony reform has remained front and center for some time now. As with any public issue, there are proponents and opponents in the debate.
For proponents of alimony reform, the focus is on amending permanent alimony laws. A main argument in support of this position is in the name itself. It is permanent. Permanent alimony terms are set at the time of divorce, but what happens after the divorce is finalized? The one thing that most people have in common is that the future is undetermined; anything could happen at any moment.
Proponents argue that permanent alimony doesn’t account for a change in circumstances that could make the payments impossible for the obligor. The inability to change an alimony award could mean further financial problems or even jail time when they can’t keep up with the payments.
While past legislation has stalled, legislation that would create an alimony review commission was recently approved in the Assembly. The group would be comprised of 11 members. The group would be tasked to review New Jersey alimony law.
Within 12 months after being established, the group would then present their findings in a report. This report would include the group’s recommendations for amending the law as it currently stands.
For those that are considering divorce, it is important to remember that there is not a one-size-fits-all alimony order. Alimony is determined based on a number of factors that are considered on a case-by-case basis, which is why one doesn’t need to panic when they listen to the debate. The best way for spouses to protect their interests — no matter how the law changes — is to consult with an attorney that focuses on divorce.
Source: New Jersey News Room, “Talking Reform: N.J. Alimony Law to be Reviewed by Legislators,” Rich Savner, Feb. 10, 2014