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Alimony reform still hotly debated in New Jersey

Like most states, New Jersey has its share of legislative issues. One of the current hot topics in the state centers on alimony, an important part of the divorce process for both spouses. An alimony determination can give one spouse money that she or he may not have earned, but may need to survive with a standard of living similar to the one held during the marriage. The length of spousal support varies widely, but groups are working both for and against alimony reform in the state.

Those seeking reform believe that judges should not have as much power as they do in the decision on the amount and length of alimony. This is because they have seen many people in recent years become financially stressed due to the amounts awarded to their former spouses. The stress is likely caused, to some degree, by the lackluster economy that has stagnated many industries and individuals throughout the U.S.

On the other side of the argument are the individuals that believe they did not receive enough in their alimony determinations. Imagine that you are being divorced by the person with a stable, hefty income and you have stayed home with the children for the past five or 10 years. It has been a long time since you have held a job and it may yet be some time before you manage to get one, so the more alimony you receive, the better.

The state Assembly recently approved a bill that would create a commission to study the current effects and status of the system as it is. The Senate has yet to act on the bill-any indication of how the Senate will act was not noted.

Alimony is being debated in several states, currently. One state that recently altered its practices chose to use a mathematical formula similar to the one that is used to determine child support in that state and New Jersey. Some are in support of this while others believe that there are too many variables in a marriage to use such an equation.

Source: Inquirer, "New Jersey struggles with the knotty issue of alimony reform," Joelle Farrell, Aug. 19, 2012

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