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Reform groups and Bar Association propose separate alimony bills

The fight over New Jersey alimony reform continues, as reform groups have accused the New Jersey State Bar Association of using stall tactics by introducing a bill in addition to the legislation brought by the reform groups. The two bills have two parts in common:

  • Parameters for modifying alimony orders when the receiving former spouse tries to cheat the system by cohabiting with and financially benefiting from a new boyfriend or girlfriend
  • And guidelines for judges in determining when an alimony order should be modified if the paying former spouse's financial situation changes for the worse

However, the two reform groups, New Jersey Women for Alimony Reform and New Jersey Alimony Reform, take issue with the Bar Association's provision that would have judges consider particular factors when a paying former spouse seeks a modification because of retirement.

According to the reform groups, the provision regarding retirement would draw already divorced individuals back into legal disputes. The reform groups say that a paying former spouse's retirement should signal the end of alimony payments.

But the Bar Association's family law chairman said the retirement provision is necessary. He pointed to the possibility of recipients of alimony reopening their divorce cases in an attempt to recoup assets and benefits that they gave up in exchange for spousal support. In other words, the retirement provision would give judges still more guidelines regarding when or if alimony payments should cease or be reduced.

The reform groups have expressed hope that their bill will pass before the legislative session ends. New Jersey residents with alimony and family law concerns will undoubtedly want to educate themselves with regard to the possibility of either bill passing.

Source: The Daily Journal, "Two plans for NJ alimony reform at odds," Susanne Cervenka, Dec. 11, 2013

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