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New Jerseys Exigent Alimony Laws

Alimony and child support payments can be costly in many ways. One New Jersey resident was sentenced to jail after failing to make payments to his ex-wife following their divorce. The former portfolio manager at Wall Street firms, who lost his job as a result of the country’s economic downturn, has been struggling for over the past two years to make payments of just under $100,000 to his wife for alimony and child support. The ex-husband now works part-time as an entry-level stock transfer agent, a job that leaves him with almost no disposable income after taxes and living expenses.

The ex-husband now owes more than $233,000 in back payments to his former wife of 17 years. A New Jersey Family Court judge recently mandated that unless the man pays a lump sum of $25,000 to his wife, he will remain in county jail. The man was represented by an attorney pro bono. In response to the attorney’s statement that the man was unable to make payments, the judge stated that the man could have filed a request for a separate hearing that would analyze his finances and determine whether he was able to pay.

Lawmakers in New Jersey have been trying to propose a resolution based on the Massachusetts model that would allow divorce alimony to be modified due to a party’s disability or unemployment. The jailed ex-husband in this case stated that he had made child support payments to his ex-wife but that those payments combined with the high alimony payments were what put him in arrears.

A family law attorney may be able to help clients demonstrate their lack of financial means. An attorney may also request a work-release program for a client in lieu of time in jail for failure to make payments.

Source: Bloomberg, “New Jersey Ex-Husband Fighting Alimony Denied Release“, Sophia Pearson, September 09, 2013