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New Jersey legislators consider eliminating lifetime alimony

The subject of lifetime alimony can be controversial. Some people believe that it should be eradicated, while others believe it should remain an option in some cases. Now New Jersey lawmakers are considering ending lifetime alimony in future divorce cases. If a measure an Assembly committee recently advanced becomes a law, the amount and duration of alimony will be dramatically changed.

New Jersey's proposed alimony requirements for divorced residents who remained married for fewer than 20 years would equal the number of years the marriage endured. For instance, if a woman was married for 15 years, she could reasonably expect 15 years of alimony payments if spousal support is approved. The proposed bill would also allow the person paying alimony to seek modifications in the event that he or she becomes unemployed for 90 days or longer.

The current president of New Jersey Women for Alimony Reform thinks the proposed changes will take away the sense of receiving a long-term entitlement. She said it would let the people receiving alimony know that there would one day be an end to the payments, prompting them to become more responsible for their livelihoods.

The proposed reform would perhaps be a more fair solution for those who would otherwise be required to pay for a lifetime. Until the bill is either passed into law or cut down, divorcing couples should make sure to consult with their family law attorneys for advice about getting the alimony, regardless of whether the person is the payer or recipient. Knowing the law upfront can save both parties from unnecessary disputes in an already difficult situation.

Source: Newsworks, "N.J. considers ending lifetime alimony in future divorce cases" Phil Gregory, Jun. 26, 2014

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