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Spousal Support Can Drain Assets Quickly In New Jersey Divorce

For wealthy New Jersey residents, a divorce can get quite complicated when it has to be determined who gets what asset and who owes the other spouse funds in the form of child support or spousal support. And as many who have been through a high net worth divorce can attest, you may not stay wealthy for long if you are ordered to make payments that you cannot afford.

One New Jersey man is finding this out the hard way, because he has been sitting in jail for failing to pay alimony that his backers say is impossible for him to pay. The man has become the new face of the alimony reform movement that has taken hold in New Jersey, with many politicians wanting to change the way spousal support is assigned in divorces.

The man was ordered to pay his ex-wife $2,000 a week in spousal support, in addition to $3,300 in child support payments. The spousal support alone comes to $104,000 a year. The problem with that is that the man has only been averaging about $90,000 a year in income. The civil rights director of the organization Dads Against Discrimination has said that the man’s jailing is “unconstitutional,” because he is sitting in jail because of an unpaid debt.

While reforming the spousal support system in New Jersey is still a long ways off, it’s important to remember that no one wins in a situation like this. Since he has been thrown in jail, the man has lost his job, which means it will be harder for him to pay what he owes when he is released. And since he can’t pay while he is in jail, his ex-wife is not receiving anything. That is probably not what she wanted to happen in all of this.

Source: Hunterdon County Democrat, “Man sits in jail while unable to pay alimony that exceeds his income,” Lillian Shupe, Dec. 7, 2012