New Jersey Legislature Seeks To Re Examine State Alimony Laws

States throughout the nation struggle with the question of how alimony should be determined during divorce proceedings, and New Jersey is no different. Currently, New Jersey has no set formula for how alimony should be calculated and the question of alimony is generally left to the judge’s discretion as they analyze multiple factors.

In New Jersey, some feel the discretion afforded to judges when determining alimony – otherwise known as spousal support – should be limited or restricted in some way.

On one side of the argument, many in New Jersey believe that long-term alimony awards actually create an incentive for ex-spouses to not to go out and earn money, and thus should be restricted more than it is now.

Others also believe that the current system is flawed, but for very different reasons. Some argue that judges can unjustly deny alimony and create dire financial straits for families since judges have such broad discretion in New Jersey courts when it comes to alimony.

Regardless of which side you come out on in this debate, the New Jersey legislature has heard the concerns voiced by some of its citizens and has created various joint resolutions that would establish a commission to study the state’s alimony laws. The two main pieces of legislation – New Jersey Assembly Joint Resolution No. 32 and its sister legislation, Senate Joint Resolution 41 – were both introduced earlier this year.

The purpose of the commission would be to review trends in alimony awards in New Jersey, and compare this information with the trends and laws in other states. Ultimately, the commission would draft a report indicating its findings and recommendations – which would also include any proposals for new alimony laws.

It remains to be seen whether this commission will ever be created or not, but until then, alimony laws will likely not be altered drastically.

Source: The Inquirer – Trenton Bureau, “New Jersey struggles with knotty issue of alimony reform,” Joelle Farrell, August 19, 2012

Our firm often handles divorces in which alimony may be a contested issue. If you would like to learn more about our divorce practice, please feel free to visit our Alimony and Spousal Support in New Jersey page.