Yesterday, I blogged on the proposed alimony reform legislation in New Jersey. At the end of that post, I posited the following questions. Is this really a radical change, or in many respects, does it simply codify what is often done in practice anyway? Will it really take away advocacy when circumstances so require?
Aside from removing the term "permanent alimony" and perhaps sickening reaction in causes in some people, does the proposed legislation really do more than codify the case law or what was done in practice, in many respects. Remember, is "permanent alimony" really permanent now anyway? Can’t people seek to retire already and isn’t retirement a change of circumstances? Don’t people already negotiate, when appropriate, limited duration alimony when people are divorcing close to retirement age, as opposed to buying a second litigation to occur a few years later?
The following are some other random thoughts, in no particular order and of no particular importance.
1) Is "indefinite alimony" a nicer term for "permanent alimony"
2) While certainly possible and appropriate in many circumstances under existing law for marriages of less than 20 years, permanent alimony was infrequently given in marriages less than 20 years after the limited duration alimony statute was enacted. In fact, I heard someone on a panel at the State Bar Convention last year state that 20 years was sort of a magic number ensuring permanent alimony.
3) The concept of imputing income to someone that is unemployed or underemployed essentially already exists in the case law and child support guidelines, and thus, really is not new.