Despite what many people might believe, there are many changes that take place with the laws and statutes that govern the manner in which a couple may dissolve a marriage. These modifications to existing law are enacted to reflect changing societal norms and economic considerations. Recently, the biggest change in New Jersey is the one that is still underway, which is a revision of the award of alimony or spousal support in New Jersey.
Over the last few years, many state lawmakers have looked at the award of alimony as part of a divorce and focused on reforming it to reflect the new dynamics of families in America. Alimony previously was thought of as long-term support in many jurisdictions. It usually was awarded in situations where the husband worked and the wife stayed at home to take care of the children and the household. Often, these women sacrificed the opportunity for education and a career in order to support the husband in his job. The granting of alimony was an acknowledgment of this support and acted as assistance for someone who would otherwise be unlikely to maintain the standard of living that she or he experienced during the marriage.
This view of alimony has undergone a change and it is now often viewed as a transitional tool to support a spouse to obtain the training or career opportunity to move forward as an individual rather than half of a partnership. This has led to the push for alimony reform. In New Jersey, there are two different proposals being considered by the legislature.
Under the current law, there is no mathematical formula to determine the amount of alimony that will be awarded as part of a divorce. This lack of guidelines has resulted in situations where alimony is granted for more years than the duration of the marriage. In addition, the person paying alimony had to petition the court to request permission to stop the payment of support, which often was denied, even in the event of retirement or loss of employment.
The two proposals being considered by the legislature each seek to reform alimony laws, although one of the bills takes a more drastic approach to the modifications. Under the current law, alimony awards may be classified as reimbursement, rehabilitative, limited duration, or permanent. Permanent alimony has not set termination date. One of the proposed reform bills seeks to eliminate permanent alimony and set up parameters that control the amount of alimony that can be awarded based on the duration of the marriage. Although there is still some judicial discretion, the law seeks to impose parity among divorcing couples across New Jersey. The second proposed reform bill does seek to reform alimony awards, but maintains much more judicial discretion to address the unique circumstances of each divorcing couple.
While everyone waits to see which alimony reform bill will be enacted in New Jersey, The Micklin Law Group, LLC maintains committed to representing its clients with dedication and experience, reacting to the changing laws in New Jersey in order to provide the best possible legal services.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC Offers Skilled Representation for Parties Going through Divorce
When presented with the possible demise of a marriage that was entered with plans for it to last, it may be tempting to simply agree to a division of assets and a determination of support with only the assistance of a judge signing off on the agreement; however, this would be a mistake. There are many complex issues that arise during a divorce, whether or not there are children involved in the separation. The Micklin Law Group, LLC has the knowledge and experience to get you through this difficult process in the best position possible. We will work with you to develop the legal strategy that meets your needs, offering representation with compassion for the difficulty of the situation. To schedule a meeting at your convenience, please call (973) 562-0100.