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Lobbyists Seek to Reform Alimony Laws in New Jersey

According to the Huffington Post, New Jersey is among several states where lobbyists are seeking to reform alimony laws they see as antiquated and unfair:

Many family lawyers in New Jersey read from the same script. In a state notorious for its out-of-date alimony laws and for judges who refuse to lower payments even when people have lost their jobs, legislators are considering a bill that would permit modifications in changed circumstances, and one that would establish a commission to update the law. "We must be doing something right," says Rutgers professor Tom Leustek, who runs New Jersey Alimony Reform, "because legislators are listening to our stories, and lawyers are trying to deny them."

Alimony is an amount of money, distinct from property division or child support, paid by one ex-spouse to the other following a divorce. It may be granted for a limited term or for a long term.

New Jersey Assemblyman Sean Kean of Monmouth County has introduced legislation, already approved unanimously by Judiciary Committees in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature. This would allow courts to modify child support and alimony payments when circumstances change, such as when a former spouse loses a job or experiences some other decline in income that last six months or longer.

The law allows such reductions now, but Kean says that judges often deny such requests without even considering the changed circumstances.

New Jersey courts must consider 13 factors when deciding whether to award alimony, what kind, for what period, and in what amount. These factors, set forth in the alimony statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b), include the need and ability of the parties to pay, the duration of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the parties' standards of living during the marriage, the earning capacity and employability of the parties, the parental responsibilities of the parties, and the income available from assets held by the parties.

If your or a family member have questions about divorce, alimony, or other family law issues, contact the New Jersey family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Greenberg, Walden & Grossman, LLC.

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