New Jersey Alimony Reform

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New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:52 pm

Please welcome the newest Web site to join the cause, the first such group in New Jersey I believe.

http://njalimonyreform.org/


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Last edited by Skitz on Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Call for members

Postby upsidedownjustice » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:58 am

Dear NJ Alimony Payers and sympathizers,

We have formally begun our alimony reform organization in New Jersey with the goal of reforming our antiquated and draconian alimony laws.

As an alimony payer you have only a few options to fight the injustice, and reforming alimony laws is the best one in my opinion. However, our success will depend entirely on the numbers of individuals who actively participate in our movement.

I realize that alimony payers are generally a cynical bunch and this sentiment is perfectly understandable after experiencing the the NJ family court system and its entourage of legal experts. But, consider this, you can be certain that if you sit back and do nothing but mail out your monthly alimony check, you will do so until your death, or the death of your former spouse. I am appealing to the part of you that is incensed at the injustice. Join NJ Alimony Reform now and help to stop the insanity. You can be sure that we are group of dedicated and passionate individuals who will work diligently, patiently, and relentlessly to change the divorce from an entitlement system to one based on actual need and the expectation of self-sufficiency.

The only way to realize this goal is to join together in a true grassroots effort.

Sincerely yours,
Tom Leustek
The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
Steve Biko 1971

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Postby Skitz » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:06 pm

I see that NJ Alimony Reform is already starting to get some ink. This is critical, and it is very good news. Keep up the work on the PR front, the public, as well as your state's legislators need to be informed and educated.

Lifetime Alimony? New Jersey Nonprofit Takes on Alimony Reform Laws

WSJ-MarketWatch

RAHWAY, N.J., Nov. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- How did your divorce go? Spouse get everything? House? Car? Way more than half your money, the retirement funds, the kid's college fund? And does your ex get alimony - for the rest of his or her life? How absurd is that? Even bank robbers get out after a few years. It's New Jersey's "Alimony Life Sentence." Divorce never ever ends in New Jersey.

The state's seriously out-of-date 1950s-era alimony laws were written when virtually all women were stay-at-home mothers, and there were no jobs for women. Men were the family breadwinners.

But today lifetime alimony is still predominate. Even when payments cause serious hardship for the payer (man or woman), they are routinely "awarded."

Lifetime alimony must be paid even when the payer is retired, depletes all assets to make payments; even when exorbitant payments lead to bankruptcy, house foreclosure, and insolvency. Alimony must be paid even if you're sick, out of a job, extreme hardships, if you retire or live in a small flat on rented furniture. Pay up - for life - or go to jail. In New Jersey it's the "never-ending divorce." ...................................

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/lifeti ... 2011-11-22
(click link for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:56 am

More good ink for NJ Alimony Reform. This is excellent. Keep up the good work. As always, if you are able to add your comment at the bottom of this article you will be helping the cause. Keep your comments respectful, factual, and concise.

Alimony payment rules under scrutiny in NJ

Written by
Bob Jordan | Statehouse Bureau

Arguing that New Jersey divorce laws should not be for richer or poorer, a group pushing for overhauls wants the state to end awards of lifetime alimony and legislate the terms of payments to former spouses.

The proposal borrows from Massachusetts, where a new alimony law going into effect next year will for the first time spell out the number of years alimony payments must be made.................................

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/ ... tiny-in-NJ
(click link for full text)

The same article on a different page: (very good)

http://www.thedailyjournal.com/article/ ... /312050028
(click link for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:26 pm

N.J. alimony law needs fresh look

Asbury Park Press 5:17 PM, Dec. 8, 2011

Marriage may not last until “death do you part,” but alimony in New Jersey can go all the way to the grave.

It is time for the state to examine its alimony laws, which are vague and anachronistic, harkening back to a time when (primarily) women did not work outside the home and were often left financially high and dry in the wake of a divorce. Alimony laws in many states were passed to aid lower-earning spouses, a tradeoff when careers were sacrificed for families. Some of the ground rules were established decades ago.....................

http://www.app.com/article/20111209/NJO ... y=nav|head
(click link for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:22 pm

A letter to the editor on My Central Jersey.com

'Lifetime' alimony unfair, outdated

I am concerned that the recent editorial regarding alimony reform on Dec. 12 did not clearly distinguish between “lifetime” alimony (called Permanent Alimony in the statutes) and transitional alimony.

New Jersey Alimony Reform agrees with the concept of alimony as an aid for an ex-spouse get back on their feet, which is fair, reasonable, and encourages both parties to get on with their lives. Our grassroots movement is focusing on the elimination of lifetime alimony.

A study is not needed to draw a conclusion that New Jersey alimony law itself is aged, and its application is barbaric. Everyone in the system knows this, including the recipients. Certainly the lawyers know it.

Just compare the antiquated laws in New Jersey with most other states. The difference between New York and New Jersey, for example, is profound. New York believes that alimony should last just long enough to get the dependent party on his/her feet. New Jersey law means that alimony lasts until death, and we have documented many cases of recipients (like my ex-wife) who are fully employed professionals with education and substantial incomes.

Instead of a study, we should propose a task force to rewrite the darned law, as the Massachusetts legislature did, consisting of alimony payers, lawyers, the chief justice of the family court, and representatives from the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Tom Leustek

President

New Jersey Alimony Reform

RAHWAY

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/ ... dyssey=nav

And again on the Asbury Park Press (Good job Tom)

http://www.app.com/article/20111216/NJO ... al-alimony
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Postby Skitz » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:20 am

A news item from NJ Alimony Reform posted on PR Newswire:

Advocacy Group Applauds New Jersey Lawmaker's Efforts to Update Antiquated Alimony Laws

RAHWAY, N.J., Jan. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A New Jersey senator is earning accolades for his decision to join a nationwide movement in updating the state's antiquated alimony laws, following Massachusetts' overhaul of its out-dated laws in September 2011. Tom Leustek, director of the grassroots organization leading this effort in New Jersey, is thrilled that Sen. Sean Kean (R-Monmouth) recently announced he will submit legislation establishing a blue ribbon panel to study the issue, in preparation for revamping laws widely considered to be harsh and out of step with current social and economic realities.

"We applaud Senator Kean for listening to our research and our members, whose lives have been shattered by laws written when divorce was rare and women had no economic power of their own," declared Mr. Leustek, Director of New Jersey Alimony Reform (NJAR). "Those days are long gone, but these laws linger on and cause terrible, long lasting damage to the entire family. No one knows about them until they're in divorce court, and then, it's too late. Lifetime alimony means that there is no guaranteed end even at retirement."

"New Jersey is an outlier in its alimony practices," Leustek says. "In New York and Pennsylvania, and much of the rest of the country, lifetime alimony is as out-of-date as rotary phones." He also notes that alimony awards have nothing to do with child support obligations...........

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases ... 74743.html
(click for full text)


This piece was also republished by the Sacramento Bee:

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/04/416243 ... ersey.html

Good job!

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Postby Skitz » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:32 pm

New Jersey lawmaker looks to update alimony rules after advocacy group claims lifetime punishment

By Leah Krakinowski

Published January 11, 2012 FoxNews.com

Fairness must be put back into divorce court, an advocacy group in New Jersey is arguing, pushing legislation to update what it says are antiquated alimony laws that disproportionately favor the recipients of alimony, regardless of changing circumstances.

"Lifetime alimony and the family court system in New Jersey are driving real people to the brink," Tom Leustek, president and founder of New Jersey Alimony Reform, told FoxNews.com. "My own divorce resulted in a lifetime alimony order in 2008. I remember during one of the court hearings, the judge saying to me, 'It's not fair, but it's the law.'"

Alimony, or spousal support, is an amount of money paid by one spouse after a divorce to enable the lower-income spouse to cover living expenses.

Leustek, a professor at a local university, contends that many of his state's alimony laws are slanted because they were established in the 1940s and 1950s when women were largely stay-at-home mothers and men were considered the principal income earner.

Leustak has won the ear of Republican state Sen. Sean Kean, who is sponsoring legislation that seeks a plan to overhaul Garden State alimony laws like lifetime payments.................................

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01 ... hudder-at/
(click link for full text)
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Postby Skitz » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:54 am

Opinion: Fix New Jersey’s alimony rules

Thursday January 26, 2012, 4:16 PM
BY TOM LEUSTEK

BEFORE MY divorce in 2008, I knew nothing about alimony but assumed that because I am a professor and my then-wife was a successful licensed psychologist with a PhD. and a thriving private practice, that once child support ended, we would go our separate ways. Had we divorced in New York or Pennsylvania, most likely that would have been the case.

In New Jersey, we are bound together as adversaries until death by an antiquated concept called “lifetime alimony,” left over from the days when divorce was rare and women could not work outside the home.

Far from having guidelines, as there are for child support, in alimony rulings judges have unlimited discretion, making each case a crap shoot, and a bonanza for lawyers................................

http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinion ... 12712.html
(click for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:20 am

Assemblyman proposes overhaul of alimony laws

Written by
Bob Jordan
Statehouse Bureau

TRENTON — Just in time for Valentine’s Day, bills have started moving through the New Jersey Assembly that could possibly lead to an overhaul of the state’s alimony laws.

The measures from Assemblyman Sean Kean, R-Monmouth, include a call to create an 11-member commission to review alimony laws and propose reforms. A separate Kean bill, cleared last week by the lower house’s Judiciary Committee, provides that child support or alimony payments may be modified if the obligor’s income is diminished due to unemployment, temporary disability or similar circumstances.

Kean has huddled with Tom Leustek, president and co-founder of New Jersey Alimony Reform, who has campaigned to end court-ordered awards of lifetime alimony. Instead, Leustek and his group want to have terms of payments to former spouses set by legislation.................

http://www.app.com/article/20120214/NJN ... y=nav|head
(click for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:39 am

KEAN: Make N.J. alimony laws fairer

Written by
Sean Kean

When a marriage results in divorce, there is usually much emotional pain involved. But for those who face the obligation of making alimony payments that continue in perpetuity, despite changed financial circumstances, the impact is often devastating.

Alimony is a necessary tool to ensure that both spouses involved in the dissolution of a marriage receive a reasonable and fair financial outcome.

However, especially in our struggling and evolving economy, obligors often face the harsh reality that there is limited recourse to modify alimony obligations to reflect the loss of a job or reduction in income.....................

http://www.app.com/article/20120215/NJO ... aws-fairer
(click for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:22 pm

N.J. alimony laws are not fair

Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 9:25 AM
Letters to the Editor/The Star-Ledger By Letters to the Editor/The Star-Ledger

In response to the Q&A “Does judge’s discretion make alimony fairer?” (Feb. 10) with law professor Sally Goldfarb: Goldfarb provides a letter-of-the-law commentary, but she misses the point when it comes to the real world.

Lifetime alimony is the term that describes reality in New Jersey family court. If alimony is difficult to modify, it becomes a lifelong burden for the payer, who must live in fear of losing a job because it will land that person in jail, or depression over a future without retirement after a lifetime of hard work. New Jersey does not inflict such hardship on its average citizen, but it does to alimony payers.................

http://blog.nj.com/ledgerletters/2012/0 ... _fair.html
(click for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:41 pm

press release
Feb. 20, 2012, 2:17 p.m. EST

New Jersey Alimony Reform Applauds Senate Judiciary Vote and Presses for Blue Ribbon Commission to Update Antiquated Laws

RAHWAY, N.J., Feb 20, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Tom Leustek, director of New Jersey Alimony Reform (NJAR), praised Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) and his Senate Judiciary Committee for its unanimous approval on February 16, of a bill that would streamline alimony modifications when payers lose their jobs. Leustek also promised to continue efforts to update the state's antiquated alimony laws into the 21st century by urging lawmakers to pass a bill that would create a Blue Ribbon Commission to make comprehensive changes to alimony laws.

New Jersey's alimony modification bill, S-1388, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee following approval on February 6 of the assembly companion bill, A-685, sponsored by Assemblyman Sean Kean (R-Monmouth)...........................

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-je ... 2012-02-20
(click for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:08 pm

It's nice to see our friend Tom Leustek isn't about to sit around and let the Florida group grab all of the headlines :)
We can help him out a bit by adding a comment at the bottom of his article :wink:


Opinion: N.J.'s unjust alimony laws need revision


By Tom Leustek

The New Jersey Senate and Assembly judiciary committees have recently sent S1388/A685, which would make changes to the state’s alimony laws, to the next level for lawmakers’ consideration. The New Jersey Alimony Reform Association supports the bills; however, we believe that comprehensive changes are necessary to make the laws fair for both parties to divorce.

Alimony laws in New Jersey have not received significant review by the Legislature in more than 35 years. During this time, judges have had full discretion in interpreting the laws. The outcome is a cruel and inflexible system that doesn’t account for changes in life circumstances.

The courts have essentially required lifetime alimony, which is difficult if not impossible to pay when someone loses his or her job or is forced to take a pay cut. Payers are charged with contempt by the courts, are jailed, and in the most egregious cases, are exposed to repeated rounds of imprisonment. State family courts have generally failed to recognize the practical difficulties brought about by the 2008 recession. When people lose a job, intact families often cooperate to reduce spending. But in the case of a divorced person who is required to pay alimony, it is nearly impossible to reduce those payments because of an institutional bias in the courts and the prohibitive cost of lawyers needed to help petition for modification. Often, the judge simply doesn’t believe the payer, who must wait years to show his or her change in employment status is permanent..................................

http://www.nj.com/times-opinion/index.s ... y_law.html
(click for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:35 am

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