There has been an alimony reform movement that has been gaining traction throughout the country. Some of the major concerns appear to be this issue of permanent alimony and the lack of uniformity in alimony awards, both in amount and duration, from case to case. In the recent past, alimony laws have been reformed in Florida, Massachusetts and Maryland. Is New Jersey next?
On March 7, 2013, A3909 was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly, which, if passed, would radically change alimony as we know it in New Jersey.
The following are a highlight of the changes:
- All references to permanent alimony are deleted from the statute, though, as noted below, for marriages of more than 20 years, an indefinite award of alimony can be be granted
- The concept of imputing income to someone that is unemployed or underemployed, which already exists in the case law and child support guidelines, would be codified
- The amount of limited duration alimony should not exceed the recipient’s need or 30 to 35 percent in the difference between the parties gross incomes at the time of the initial award, though a court would have the discretion to deviate. Some reasons for deviation would be advanced age, chronic illness, unusual health circumstances, whether the payer is providing or ordered to provide health insurance to the recipient, sources and amounts of unearned income not allocated in equitable distribution, the recipient’s inability to become self-supporting based upon the abuse of the payer, and others, including a catch all "any other factors that a court deems relevant and material."