Alimony bill signed into law
By ASHLEY SAARI
Monday, July 09, 2018 5:50PM
An alimony reform bill was recently signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu, with the goal of creating clearer expectations for the process.
The bill reached the governor’s office several weeks ago and was signed on Monday, June 25.
The bill, Senate Bill 71, was formed by a cohort of several experts in the divorce fields, including several lawyers, divorce financial experts and Temple mediator Honey Hastings, who said in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript that the need for reform was clear, based on both SB71, and a competing bill that came from the House this year, which had similar goals through different means.
Divorce proceedings are increasingly settled out-of court, Hastings explained, but when there are issues related to alimony, it almost always ends up in front of a judge, because the metrics to determine how much alimony is to be paid and for how long are not uniform.
“Right now, the results are so unpredictable that it’s almost always mitigated,” Hastings said.
SB71 would create a more predictable formula, Hastings said, with the goal of reducing the need to go to court, while leaving enough flexibility that judges can make adjustments based on circumstance.
The initial test for whether alimony is to be granted is the same as it is now, said Hastings: Whether one party requires alimony to maintain their current lifestyle, and if the other party can pay it while maintaining their current lifestyle.
If alimony is to be paid out, the bill sets out the formula as the difference between the two parties gross income (adjusted for child support payments) times 30 percent.
The bill also makes clear how long alimony should go on for – in most cases, half of the length of the marriage. There are provisions that allow judges to make adjustments to that, based on whether the couple lived together and shared expenses for a period before a marriage, or separated and lived separately and financially independent from each other prior to the divorce. Hastings used the example of a same-sex couple, who may have been living as a couple for years before legally being allowed to marry......
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