New Jersey Alimony Reform

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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:01 pm

Alimony Reform Group Opens Membership Door with FREE Memberships

Rahway, NJ (GistCloud) October 17, 2013 – “Marriages come and go, but alimony can stick around for a lifetime here in New Jersey.” Says Tom Leustek the grass roots organization leader of New Jersey Alimony Reform. Some of their members include ex-spouses whose marriages lasted for less than 8 years and they have ordered to pay alimony every month until they die. One member hasn’t seen his ex-spouse in 30 years, yet still sends her alimony — which is now half of his Social Security check. “Cruel and unusual punishment? That doesn’t begin to describe what some of these New Jersey residents are going through.” He continues.

New Jersey is by far the harshest state to get a divorce. The antiquated laws include the default position of “lifetime alimony” with divorcing spouses – both men and women – having virtually no chance of changing this to a lesser payment. The system “awards” alimony payments – forever – to the lower paid spouse, even though both spouses may be healthy and able to work. It crushes the higher earner with a lifetime burden of payments and rewards the other with the entitlement of never having to work again. Unfortunately, it can completely shatter the lives of those who pay..............

http://press.gistcloud.com/alimony-refo ... mberships/

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Repeatedly jailed NJ ex-spouse shows importance of appropria

Postby Skitz » Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:35 am

New Jersey reformed its laws surrounding alimony, or spousal maintenance, in 2012.
October 24, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Alimony has long been a point of contention between many separated spouses. When divorcing couples in Monmouth County, New Jersey, divide property and assets, typically neither party believes that he or she got the better deal, and alimony is no exception. Now, however, reform that limits alimony awards may be on the horizon. In the meantime, recent reports of a New Jersey man who has been sent to jail more than once for being unable to pay alimony show the importance of setting a reasonable amount during a divorce.

Alimony law upheaval

Critics believe that reasonable alimony is not always assigned under the current New Jersey law, which allows permanent alimony. According to Time magazine, in 2012, Massachusetts eliminated permanent alimony. Before the elimination, people who were married for only a brief time or people who were living with another person were receiving lifetime alimony. Now, other states are also considering whether alimony laws could be revised to be fairer......................

http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1543467
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Alimony reform issues must be addressed

Postby Skitz » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:11 pm

Alimony reform issues must be addressed

To the editor:

There have been many recent emergent cases which were decided by the state Supreme Court which stayed incarnations issued by the lower courts in matters dealing with payment of alimony and/or child support and the associated arrears. In each case, emergent motions to the Appellate courts were denied, but subsequently overturned by the state Supreme Court....

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

Postby Skitz » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:51 pm

Poll: New Jerseyans Against Lifetime Alimony

NEW JERSEY 101.5

Alimony reform activists are urging New Jersey lawmakers to pass a bill which would eliminate permanent alimony and establish guidelines for the amount and duration of awards.

Those in favor of the legislation cite a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll in which nearly two-thirds of all New Jersey adults said the most important purpose of alimony is to provide support until the former spouse becomes financially independent.

Overall, 75 percent of respondents disagreed with a recent court ruling that found a supported spouse, in a marriage lasting 15 years or longer, must be paid alimony for life. More men than women opposed that decision, 79 to 67 percent.

“People believe the imposition of lifetime alimony, the way that it currently is done in New Jersey, is simply wrong,” said Tom Leustek, president of New Jersey Alimony Reform. “Whether you’re a man or a woman, your sense of what is fair and reasonable is the same.”........................

http://nj1015.com/poll-new-jerseyans-ag ... ony-audio/
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:21 am

Divorce courting: Competing bills seek alimony reform

By Bill Mooney | November 27th, 2013 - 2:30pm

TRENTON – Advocates of two competing alimony reform bills squared off this week in committee.

It is questionable whether an amicable settlement will be attainable.

While both sides seek to update a system that has been outpaced by changing times and evolving societal roles, a key point of contention seems to be where the control should reside: within confines of a formula or within a judge’s discretion.

One bill, A3909, sponsored by Assemblyman Charles Mainor, (D-31), Jersey City, and others, would eliminate permanent alimony and establish guidelines for alimony duration based on a marriage’s length.

The other, A4525, sponsored by Assembly members Thomas Giblin, (D-34), Clifton, and Pamela Lampitt, (D-6), Voorhees, also would end permanent alimony and codify some grounds for modification including job loss or retirement............

http://www.politickernj.com/69906/divor ... ony-reform
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:15 pm

Talking Reform: N.J. Alimony Law to be Reviewed by Legislators

BY RICH SAVNER
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Legislation (AJR-32) sponsored by Assemblyman Sean Kean, R-Monmouth and Ocean, that would create an 11-member Blue Ribbon Commission to review New Jersey’s alimony law and propose avenues of reform, was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Monday. Kean sponsored a similar bill in the previous legislation session that received unanimous approval in the Assembly, but received no action in the Senate.

Kean, a practicing attorney, has previously sponsored related legislation that provided for modification of child support and certain alimony payments due to a change in personal circumstances. He has also sponsored a bill that examines how current alimony law is structured and that eliminates permanent alimony awards. Guidelines for the term of limited duration alimony based on the length of the marriage would be established.

“Current alimony laws are antiquated and not reflective of the way society has changed over the years,” said Kean. “Establishing a commission that is composed of various stakeholders is a common sense approach to reforming an outdated system. While there are guidelines for courts to consider in determining alimony, there is not a specific formula for a family court to use in its calculation. Alimony should help a person as they transition to self-sustaining employment. It should not be a lifetime financial obligation on the individual making payments.................................


http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/style/ ... egislators
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:09 pm

Alimony in a New Jersey divorce, and the changes that could be coming

Learn more about payments made to former spouses and the efforts to reform alimony laws in New Jersey
March 26, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marriage is an economic as well as a social relationship. Sometimes, when a marriage ends in divorce, one former partner is required to make payments to the other. These payments, known as alimony or spousal support, help to balance the standard of living enjoyed by the parties after divorce.

In New Jersey, there are a number of different types of alimony and a number of factors that go into setting any eventual alimony award. Changes may soon be coming to New Jersey's framework for determining alimony, however, as advocacy groups increasingly call for reform.

Types of alimony and factors a judge will consider in making an award.

Currently, there are five types of alimony in New Jersey. Temporary alimony supports one spouse during the process of divorce; limited duration alimony supports a former spouse for a set number of years; rehabilitative alimony supports a former spouse through education or training needed to become self sufficient; reimbursement alimony compensates a former spouse for supporting his or her partner through higher education; and, permanent alimony supports a former spouse indefinitely, typically for long term marriages with significant income disparities between the parties.

Any combination of the different types of alimony may be awarded by a New Jersey judge. Judges have great discretion in making alimony awards, or in declining to award alimony. A judge may consider 13 factors, some of the most important being: ..................................

http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1811856
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:21 pm

Relief for alimony payers? NJ Assembly passes bill to change system

TRENTON — A long effort to change New Jersey’s “ancient” law on alimony is beginning to gain steam in the state Legislature.

The state Assembly today voted 77-0 with 1 abstention to approve a compromise bill that would strike the term “permanent alimony” from the law books and make other changes to the system, which lawmakers said is a throwback to past decades when often only one spouse worked.

“We looked at the payers and we looked at the payees, and we realized that the current alimony laws are ancient and had to be brought up to 2014,” Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Hudson) said at an Assembly Judiciary Committee meeting on the bill this morning.

Mainor said he’s been working on the issue — which had been debated but had not advanced in committee until today — for two-and-a-half years.

The bill applies mainly to future divorces. However, the bill does allow a “rebuttable presumption” that payments will end once the person paying them reaches "full retirement age," which lawmakers said would be the federal retirement age, which is currently 67. But if a person reaches that age and has not retired yet, a judge can "establish the conditions under which the modification or termination of alimony will be effective." And if a person wants to retire before that age, he or she would "have the burden" of showing that the plan is "reasonable and made in good faith." ......................

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/20 ... ystem.html
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NJ Alimony Reform bill is on the governor's desk

Postby Skitz » Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:49 pm

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=346
(click for story in the News Forum)

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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:59 am

RABBLE ROUSER: A first step toward alimony reform

Let’s acknowledge the pending New Jersey alimony reform bill under consideration for what it is — a first step. Clearly progress in almost three years of grassroots efforts by NJ Alimony Reform, NJ Women for Alimony Reform and the thousands of members trapped in the insanely antiquated alimony laws of New Jersey, including many paying alimony to an ex-spouse for life for marriages that lasted 10 years or less.

It is a big first step and admission by the Family Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association that New Jersey did not have the most progressive alimony laws in the country after maintaining that no changes were needed, as was their adamant position at the onset of changing the current out-of-touch and inequitable alimony law. Sadly, negotiation of the bill was in itself similar to a shotgun wedding.

New Jersey Alimony Reform founder Tom Leustek describes how the Assembly committee sat reformers and lobbyists down at the last minute and “put a cage around us.” He said he was told to come out with a compromise “or else something would be enacted that left everyone unhappy.” He was given no time to reach out to his membership nor to those family-law attorneys who support true reform.............

http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/ ... /13126363/
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:45 pm

OPINION: Alimony reform in NJ a touchy subject

TRENTON — Nothing unites opposing sides quicker than talk of alimony reform. Take, for instance, a bill on Gov. Christie's desk that would update New Jersey's alimony law, which many maintain is way behind the times.

Over the years, some of the bigger flows of mail to my inbox and calls to me on radio have come from people who think the current system is unfair, unbalanced and unfit for the time. Most of it comes from men who argue judges toss logic out the window and are prejudiced against them. They say what settlement you get can depend on which lawyer you hire or which judge hears the case, sort of like alimony roulette.

The words they use to describe divorce lawyers can't be used in a family newspaper. I'm starting to understand their point. After the last alimony reform column I was bombarded with missives from lawyers who want me to know their stand.

By its very nature, divorce and alimony are emotional issues, ones that don't bring out the best in people. Many of the current laws here and elsewhere were written when women worked in the home while their husbands went outside to their jobs. The argument has been that the women sacrificed career development and when a divorce happens they are behind where they would be otherwise, therefore they get alimony payments..........................

http://www.dailyrecord.com/story/opinio ... /13424427/
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:34 am

NJ alimony reform bill awaits Christie's signature

As a marital law attorney for three decades, Tom Jenkins thought he figured out the unwritten rules of thumb for awarding alimony.

The rough, inconsistent formula wasn't something to count on. But for New Jersey divorce lawyers and their clients, it is better than a blind guess.

A bill on Gov. Chris Christie's desk proposes more specific guidelines for Family Court judges in determining payment amount and duration of alimony. The bill ends permanent alimony and takes into consideration the paying spouse's retirement and an unexpected loss of income.

"It gives a little more guidance to judges," said Jenkins, a partner with Trace Jenkins in Woodbury.

Courts now have complete discretion when deciding alimony cases, according to attorney Amy Goldstein, who worked with Assemblyman Troy Singleton on one version of the bill.

"One of the goals of this bill was to try to make it more predictable, so when people get divorced, they can plan for the future, and it reduces the cost of going through a divorce," Goldstein said.

"It's hard to look at a client and say, 'I have absolutely no idea.' "

In spite of a Rutgers University Eagleton Institute poll that showed New Jerseyans in favor of ending lifetime alimony, lobbying organizations remain split.........................

http://www.app.com/story/news/politics/ ... /15004367/
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:30 pm

Bucco Receives Award From State Bar Association for Sponsoring Alimony Reform Legislation

Senator Anthony R. Bucco (R-Morris) received the 2015 Robert B. Meyner Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) on Monday, March 9, 2015 in a presentation at the New Jersey State House.

Senator Bucco was selected to receive the award in particular recognition of his sponsorship of legislation signed into law to reform New Jersey’s alimony laws to eliminate lifetime awards and establish guidelines for the amount and duration of awards..................

http://www.senatenj.com/index.php/bucco ... tion/21185
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:16 pm

Proving your ex has a new partner is easier under new alimony law

By Ben Horowitz | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on January 29, 2016 at 11:13 AM, updated January 29, 2016 at 5:04 PM

Before 2014, a divorced spouse had to show that his ex-spouse shared a common residence with a new partner in order to prove they were living together and be able to stop paying alimony.

But under the Alimony Reform Act of 2014, an ex-spouse no longer has to be living full-time in the same home as another person to be engaged in "cohabitation."

More than a year after the law was passed, advocates of the new law — generally ex-husbands — say there have been improvements, but they have been more modest than they envisioned.

It's less difficult to prove cohabitation, or that an ex-spouse is in a virtual new marriage and effectively living with the new partner, and shouldn't get payments anymore. That issue was raised in a Morris County case this week in which a former husband is seeking to terminate his alimony obligation.

The change in cohabitation was made to remedy a situation where "people are in a marital relationship, for all intents and purposes, but don't get married and keep their separate homes, just so one of them can keep getting an alimony payment. That is a problem," said Jeralyn Lawrence, former chairwoman of the New Jersey Bar Association's family law section, who helped develop the new law.

When New Jersey was debating possible changes in its alimony law back in 2012, advocates of reform were hoping for sweeping changes that would benefit the payers of alimony..............

http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2016 ... habit.html
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Re: New Jersey Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:10 pm

RABBLE ROUSER: Gray areas remain in alimony law
JON WORMAN 5:14 p.m. EDT April 1, 2016

Following three-plus years of lobbying and negotiation by grassroots alimony reform organizations, the New Jersey Bar Association and state legislators, Gov. Chris Christie signed an alimony reform bill in September 2014. Following extreme last-minute lobbying by the bar association, it reflected nominal changes at best and sadly has created a dual application of law.

Those who divorced after the law and the tens of thousands who were divorced prior to it are being held to differing standards. With minor exceptions, the law was not retroactive.

One of the few, but important, changes for previously divorced people was that upon reaching the federal retirement age, generally identified as when an individual can collect Social Security benefits, a basis for a presumable or expected end to alimony in retirement was included. This was rebuttable, or arguable, by the receiving spouse, but shifted the burden of justification and proof that an ex-spouse needed to continue to receive alimony onto the receiving spouse. It had previously been on the paying spouse and was in part what led to New Jersey’s notorious “lifetime alimony” obligation as it was virtually impossible to end through the courts and would often be financially back-breaking to try.

Now 18 months into the new law, the courts are deciding cases and setting precedent by applying the changes. On Feb. 22, New Jersey Appellate Division Judge Marie E. Lihotz decided the case of Landers v. Landers. The decision marks the first “published” decision that addresses the retirement provisions in the September 2014 statute.

Lihotz ruled essentially that if a payor spouse who was divorced prior to the September 2014 amendments seeks to retire at his or her “full retirement,” the burden remains on the payor spouse to “demonstrate that modification or termination of alimony is appropriate.”.....................................

http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/ ... /82531052/
(click for full text)

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