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New Jersey considers major changes to spousal support laws

Alimony, or spousal support, is included in many divorce settlements in Mercer County and elsewhere. In the past, often one of the parents would stay home to maintain the home and to care for the children. More and more, however, both parents are members of the workforce, making the type of court ordered financial support from the past less necessary. In light of changes to the marriage and family landscape across the U.S., some states are making major adjustments to their alimony laws.

Following in the footsteps of some other states, New Jersey state officials have recently put forth a proposal for altering current alimony laws, including getting rid of lifetime spousal support orders. Currently, even if a couple is only married for a short time, a judge could order a person to pay their ex alimony for the rest of their life. Much of the ruling is left up to the discretion of the judge presiding over the case.

If approved, the law being considered would make orders for spousal support would put into effect a specific formula for calculating alimony payments, which would help to limit the amounts ordered. It would also put limits on the length of time a person would be required to make spousal support payments. There were no details reported to indicate whether the length of the marriage would have an effect on the duration of an alimony arrangement.

Anyone considering a divorce may find it helpful to consult with an attorney. Legal representation can help you to fully understand all of your options for divorce and ensure your interests are looked out for while negotiating the settlement.

Source: New York Post, “Ending alimony is not so smart”, Naomi Schaefer Riley, June 4, 2013

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