New Jersey Alimony Reform

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Postby Skitz » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:34 am

Leustek: Give judges alimony guidelines, not carte blanche

7:14 PM, Mar. 16, 2012
Written by Tom Leustek

In her March 11 column, “Alimony is more than a formula,” the president of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Susan Feeney, gracefully supported a review of New Jersey alimony laws. Feeney, however, also made several terrible misstatements in her article.

The group calling for change to alimony laws is a grass-roots organization called New Jersey Alimony Reform, and I am the president. Feeney describes us as “a small group of disgruntled alimony payers.” This is neither fair nor accurate; in fact, at present about 30 percent of our members are not alimony payers, but witnesses to the abuse of alimony payers, including second partners, family and friends. Our group is large and growing at a brisk pace as alimony reform has been publicized.

Through our website and the media, we are simply conveying the stories that show brutally unfair treatment in the family courts, including routine refusal to make reasonable modifications after job loss, leading to bankruptcy and incarceration..........................

http://www.app.com/article/20120318/NJO ... |Opinion|s
(click for full text)


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Postby Skitz » Wed May 30, 2012 7:26 pm

NJ Conference on Alimony Reform at Rutgers University

On June 9th Steve Hitner, President of Massachusetts Alimony Reform, a grassroots organization, will discuss how he with the help of MAR, was able to convince lawmakers to replace outdated alimony laws with fair laws.

Steve will be the keynote speaker at: "Alimony Reform: Fair Laws for the 21st Century" on June 9th at the Rutgers University's Busch Campus Center.

Also speaking will be: Elizabeth Elizabeth BenedictBenedict - Author, Alimony Reform Activist, and the journalist who catapulted the need for alimony reform in Mass with her explosive op-ed in the Boston Sunday Globe.

Other Speakers:

Assemblyman Sean Kean (D30Monmouth County)

Progress on Bills and Blue Ribbon Commission

Alan Frisher - Co-Director, Florida Alimony Reform (FAR)

Problems Encountered by FAR and Possible Solutions

Richard Stokes, Esq. - Legislative Liaison for NJAR
The Legislative Process in New Jersey

If you are in the area and would like to attend.
Register now because seating is limited.

Click here for more information and to register! http://njalimonyreform.org/confReg.php
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Postby Skitz » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:08 pm

Alimony reform measure advances

Written by
Bob Jordan
@bobjordanAPP

The leader of a year-old alimony reform group may have found willing agents of change in the state Legislature.

So far there’s been little opposition to a bill that would create a commission to study New Jersey’s current alimony laws.

Tom Leustek, head of New Jersey Alimony Reform, said it will be the first significant review of the laws in 35 years.

Lawmakers won’t like what they see, said Leustek, a Rahway resident and Rutgers University professor of molecular biology.

The laws “are harsh enough to bankrupt alimony payers and send them to jail,” he said.

A similar review took place in Massachusetts and led to an overhaul of alimony laws there in 2011, Leustek said.............

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/2012 ... ck_check=1

(click for full text)

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Postby Skitz » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:25 pm

NJ Alimony Reform Praises Gov. Christie's Response at South Amboy Town Hall

RAHWAY, N.J., Sep 20, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- NJ Alimony Reform's efforts to bring attention to the state's out-of-date alimony laws got a boost on Wednesday, Sept. 19, when Governor Christie took time to answer questions on the subject at a Town Hall meeting his office sponsored in South Amboy.

A member of NJ Alimony Reform, the state's only reform organization, and whose membership is one-third women, was called on by the Governor. The member asked if he would sign the bill, already passed by the Assembly, establishing a Blue Ribbon Commission to study the state's alimony laws. These laws were last studied and seriously revised 35 years ago, when only women received alimony and long before women achieved the economic gains they have made since then. The bill authorizing the Commission has yet to be voted on by the Senate........

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nj-ali ... 2012-09-20
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Postby Skitz » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:20 pm

Alimony reform: Exclusion is the solution for the bar association

New Jersey alimony statutes have not been reviewed for 17 years, and there has not been significant change to the law in more than 37 years. Society has changed significantly since the time when receipt of alimony was the exclusive right of female homemakers who were unemployable after divorce and when divorce was rare.

Today, nearly one out of two marriages ends in divorce, and most marriages are dual-career, yet New Jersey alimony laws continue to enforce permanent or “lifetime” alimony for marriages as short as 10 years, as well as imprison spouses who can no longer pay as a result of changed circumstances, particularly in these difficult economic times.

In June this year, a bill unanimously passed in the state Assembly creating an 11-member study commission on alimony. The objective of this commission is to study all aspects of alimony law in New Jersey and report its findings to the governor and Legislature. The Senate version of the bill is working its way through that body....................

http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/burlington_county_times_news/opinion/letters_to_editor/alimony-reform-exclusion-is-the-solution-for-the-bar-association/article_52a2142d-9a2d-574a-b580-adeff4e2e819.html
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Postby Skitz » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:05 pm

Alimony Reform May Be on the Horizon in New Jersey

Recent attempts at alimony reform in several other states have prompted advocates for alimony reform in New Jersey to renew efforts at introducing legislation that would limit the ability of judges to award lifetime alimony. New Jersey is one of the few states in the nation that allow judges to award lifetime alimony, even past retirement age, for marriages that last as little as 10 years...........

http://www.melodika.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=490820&Itemid=55
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:15 pm

If you doubt that New Jersey needs alimony reform just check out this NJ horror story:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=318
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:32 pm

NJ Alimony Reform is back on the docket for 2013:
New bill would end permanent alimony in N.J.
A new bill in the state Assembly would eliminate permanent alimony in New Jersey and establish guidelines for the length and amount of alimony.

The bill, introduced last Thursday, is modeled after Massachusetts’ alimony reform bill, which was passed in 2011 on the strength of a grassroots movement to overhaul spousal support laws. A nearly identical battle has been waged here in New Jersey, and this bill appears to be the biggest step in the fight for reformists, who view the laws as sexist and antiquated.

On the other side, many lawyers say each alimony case is unique and requires a judge’s discretion, which the law allows; guidelines......

http://www.app.com/article/20130315/NJN ... ck_check=1
(click for full text)

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Alimony reform bill introduced in State Assembly
A bill has been introduced in the state Assembly that would eliminate permanent alimony in New Jersey and refine guidelines for awarding other types of alimony after the dissolution of a marriage or civil union.

Alimony reform became a hot topic on NJ.com after a man was jailed in Hunterdon County for several weeks after failing to pay the full amount of his alimony.............

http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-demo ... duced.html
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:44 pm

Well, NJ Alimony Reform has managed to stir a good deal of interest in the subject of alimony reform there, at least from The Gannett Company, apparent owners of a string of local newspapers. Gannett has just published numerous articles on the subject, some of which almost borders on being positive in nature.

I'll just post the links for those interested. The last two articles are the same but appeared in different papers.

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/2013 ... ck_check=1

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/ ... yed-spouse

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/ ... ony-reform

http://www.courierpostonline.com/articl ... ck_check=1

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/2013 ... nd-charade

Each looks as if it will accept comments if you wish to do so.

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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:14 pm

United States: Is Alimony Reform On Its Way In New Jersey

There has been an alimony reform movement that has been gaining traction throughout the country. Some of the major concerns appear to be this issue of permanent alimony and the lack of uniformity in alimony awards, both in amount and duration, from case to case. In the recent past, alimony laws have been reformed in Florida, Massachusetts and Maryland. Is New Jersey next?

On March 7, 2013, A3909 was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly, which, if passed, would radically change alimony as we know it in New Jersey.

The following are a highlight of the changes:

All references to permanent alimony are deleted from the statute, though, as noted below, for marriages of more than 20 years, an indefinite award of alimony can be be granted
The concept of imputing income to someone that is unemployed or underemployed, which already exists in the case law and child support guidelines, would be codified
The amount of limited duration alimony should not exceed the recipient's need or 30 to 35 percent in the difference between the parties gross incomes at the time of the initial award, though a court would have the discretion to deviate. Some reasons for deviation would be advanced age, chronic illness, unusual health circumstances, whether the payer is providing or ordered to provide health insurance to the recipient, sources and amounts of unearned income not allocated in equitable distribution, the recipient's inability to become self-supporting based upon the abuse of the payer, and others, including a catch all "any other factors that a court deems relevant and material."
The case law regarding cohabitation would essentially be codified. Specifically, alimony could be modified, suspended or terminated if the other party has cohabited for 3 months. Economic dependence would still be considered. In addition, if suspended and the cohabitation ends, alimony could be reinstated, but the original terms cannot be extended.
Rehabilitative alimony cannot be for more than 5 years. The case law regarding extending rehabilitative alimony would seemingly be codified to allow it to be extended if the recipient attempted to become self supporting but was unable to do so because of unforeseen events and, extending it would not constitute an undue burden on the payer.
Presumptive schedules for duration would be established, as follows:
0-5 years - not more than half the number of months of the marriage
Greater than 5 years to 10 years - not more than 60% of the number of months of the marriage
Greater than 10 years to 15 years - not more than 70% of the number of months of the marriage
Greater than 15 years to 20 years - not more than 80% of the number of months of the marriage
More than 20 years - the court has the discretion to award alimony for an indefinite amount of time..................

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/23 ... New+Jersey
(click for full text)

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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Sun May 05, 2013 6:47 pm

NJ alimony reform is needed now
by Gretchen Barrett

Staff writer Jeannie O’Sullivan’s article “Lawyer talks alimony reform” in the May 1 edition of the Burlington County Times presents some good insights into the many horror stories of permanent alimony. Family law attorney Amy Goldstein takes a steady but predictable “don’t rock the boat” course, calling for more studies of the inherent complexity of each and every alimony case, and the need for legal “perfection” before anything concrete should be done.

Regrettably, she also brings child support into the alimony reform discussion. Child support laws are not and have never been part of the movement for alimony reform. Current New Jersey family law and alimony, with its broad set of guidelines and judicial discretion generating widely varying and unpredictable outcomes, is big money for New Jersey family law attorneys, and ensuring the status quo is a prime objective.

Proposed Assembly Bill A 3909, which revises New Jersey's alimony laws, includes the flexibility that Goldstein referred to. Under this bill, judges are given the discretion to deviate from the guidelines for exceptional situations, if there is a good reason do so. The judge just has to write down why the case is unusual.....................

http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/b ... 0dcf7.html

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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Thu May 30, 2013 9:36 pm

Push underway to change N.J. alimony laws

http://articles.philly.com/2013-05-29/n ... er-spouses

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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:02 am

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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:51 pm

Opinion: Make N.J. alimony law reflect real world

By Thomas Leustek
Special to the Times

Divorce is never a happy experience. It is often emotionally charged, and the litigants’ clarity of thinking and judgment are often clouded. It’s all the more reason for there to be definite guidelines so that both parties know what the future may hold if their marital or civil union does not work out.

Last month, Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation, S-2151, that strengthens the enforceability of premarital and pre-civil union agreements. Essentially, the revised law limits the discretion of the courts to overturn prenuptial agreements, a practice that had become all too common in New Jersey.

Until now, family courts had free rein to overturn fully executed prenuptial contracts based on circumstances that changed in the many years after the contract was signed; for example, buying a house, then having a court change the previously-agreed-to purchase price 10 or 20 years later. The Legislature’s intent was to support fairness and provide structure to court decisions to avoid protracted and unnecessary litigation.....................

http://www.nj.com/south-jersey-voices/i ... aw_re.html
(click for full text)

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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:00 pm

State alimony laws needlessly punitive

I am in agreement with letter writer Stuart Kurtz’s piece, “Alimony reform is needed to repair outdated system,” regarding the necessity of alimony reform in New Jersey.

New Jersey is supposed to be such a “progressive” state with regard to social issues, yet we lag behind 40 other states when it comes to reforming divorce and family law. Why? Because divorce is too profitable for the matrimonial bar association. We even have lawyers saying that alimony is an age-old remedy in divorce dating back to Hammurabi’s Code some 3,800 years ago. Yes, but what these lawyers don’t tell you is that under Hammurabi’s Code, if a women falsely accuses her husband of something, walks out on the marriage, or is caught committing adultery, the penalty was execution by stoning, hanging or drowning.

New Jersey permanent alimony laws are nothing more than disguised Peonage Laws.......................

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/2013 ... y-punitive
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