The New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee has approved a compromise bill that would strike the term permanent alimony from law books, in addition to making other alterations to the existing system. Lawmakers claim the current system is remnant of the past decades, when most households had only one spouse who was employed. Lawmakers also realized that the current alimony laws in place were “ancient and had to be brought up to 2014,” said Assemblyman Charles Mainor. Mr. Mainor has been working on the issue for over two years.
Major Changes to the Alimony System
- The bill will mostly apply to future divorces. Once the Payer reaches the federal full retirement age (currently 67), payments will then cease
- For future divorces, if a couple has been married for 20 years or less, the duration of alimony payments cannot exceed the length of the marriage, unless “exceptional circumstances” are ruled by a judge
- Under the bill, if the Payee lives with a new partner without getting married, a judge could end or suspend alimony payments. Currently, alimony payments end once the Payee remarries
- Judges can modify alimony payments, if the Payer has been out of work for 90 days or longer
- The term “open durational alimony” will replace the oft-misleading legal term, “permanent alimony”
The bill is headed to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk, where it will require his signature in order to become New Jersey law. A spokesman for Christie declined to comment.
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