NJ on the Brink of Passing Lifetime Alimony Reform

The state of spousal support in the Garden State could be changing forever. After years of fighting among lawmakers, there is a bill currently in front of the state legislature that would completely eliminate lifetime alimony in all future divorce cases and limit the length of potential spousal support in relatively short marriages.

As constituted, marriages lasting fewer than 20 years would be restricted to alimony payments for a maximum of the amount of years married. So a marriage that ended in five years would have spousal support capped at five years. In addition, there would be a 90-day grace period to file for alimony modifications in the event that the payer becomes unemployed.

Advocates of the bill would tell you that the reform is long overdue and that the current laws are highly antiquated. Lifetime alimony has become like a death sentence for many divorcees, who have to pay large portions of their incomes for decades at a time. This can prevent them from being able to retire and, in many cases, forces them into poverty.

The new legislation is aimed at letting people who secure alimony know that they will have to get a job and take care of themselves at some point; they won’t have a lifetime “free ride.” In the past, the steady flow of monthly income without work allowed people to avoid getting jobs and often motivated them to remain unmarried so as not to lose their monthly payments.

Much to the chagrin of people currently paying spousal support, the measure will not affect people who already have alimony obligations. Should the measure pass, prior divorce cases will be grandfathered in.

At Posternock Apell, PC we have experienced attorneys in family law and employment law. If you’re going through a divorce or feel that you’ve been discriminated against, contact our knowledgeable lawyers today.