New Jersey Alimony Reform: It’s A Reality!
The long-debated and hotly contested New Jersey Alimony Reform legislation is now a reality!
Governor Chris Christie’s office has announced that he has signed the bill agreed on by both the State Senate and Assembly earlier this summer.
Among other things, the new law provides that in New Jersey divorces involving marriages of less than 20 years, a New Jersey Family Court may not award alimony for more than the length of the marriage, unless the judge decides there are “exceptional circumstances.”
“Exceptional circumstances” which may warrant deviation from the durational limits include:
(1) The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage or civil union and at the time of the alimony award;
(2) The degree and duration of the dependency of one party on the other party during the marriage or civil union;
(3) Whether a spouse or partner has a chronic illness or unusual health circumstance;
(4) Whether a spouse or partner has given up a career or a career opportunity or otherwise supported the career of the other spouse or partner;
(5) Whether a spouse or partner has received a disproportionate share of the marital estate;
(6) The impact of the marriage or civil union on either party’s ability to become self-supporting, including but not limited to either party’s responsibility as primary caretaker of a child;
(7) Tax considerations of either party; and
(8) Any other factors or circumstances that the court deems equitable, relevant and material.
Undoubtedly, the inclusion of all of these factors—especially factor (8)–allows for New Jersey Family Law Judges to continue to exercise some discretion. This discretion is one of the reasons why opponents of the New Jersey alimony reform legislation did not believe that it went far enough.
Opponents also cited the fact that the legislation will not apply to cases that have already been decided, thereby precluding those who have been ordered to pay “permanent” alimony after a marriage of less than 20 years from seeking a modification of that award based on the new legislation.
The New Jersey alimony reform legislation also includes other significant changes to the prior law.
Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to New Jersey divorce and family law matters, including alimony.
If want to find out more about the New Jersey alimony reform legislation, or want to talk about any other New Jersey family law matter, please call us at (973) 455-1220 or fill out the Contact Form on our website.