New Jersey Alimony Law

By Attorney Gregg Herman
September 12, 2014

My friend, Attorney Jennifer Brandt, posted on FaceBook a link to an article about a New Jersey bill which apparently Governor Christie intends to sign which will modify the law regarding alimony, including:

• Allowing a rebuttable presumption that alimony payments will end once the ex-spouse paying them reaches the full retirement age of 67.
• Limiting the length of alimony payments to the length of the marriage for marriages under 20 years, unless a judge decides there are exceptional circumstances.
• Allowing judges to lower payments if the payer has been out of work for 90 days.
• Replacing he term permanent alimony with open durational alimony.”

Most of these changes would not be anything new in Wisconsin. For example, most courts will reduce payments if the payer is out of work and it won’t take 90 days (unless, of course, the lack of work is intentional) for the court to do so.

Perhaps the most important change would be the rebuttable presumption about retirement, although, again, there aren’t a lot of 68+ year olds still paying maintenance.

While some guidelines regarding maintenance in Wisconsin might be helpful, the article points out the problem – both sides are unhappy with the compromises which were made to get the bill passed.

The problem is that real life situations differ so greatly from one case to another that any maintenance law needs to give the courts the power to override presumptions in certain circumstances. Absent that power, certain fact situations will not find appropriate justice. Put another way, if you create a lot of round holes, eventually there will be a square peg.

Attorney Gregg Herman is a founding partner of Loeb & Herman S.C. in Milwaukee, WI. He practices family law exclusively, and can be reached via e-mail or by calling (414) 272-5632.