RAHWAY, N.J., Nov. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- How did your divorce go? Spouse get everything? House? Car? Way more than half your money, the retirement funds, the kid's college fund? And does your ex get alimony – for the rest of his or her life? How absurd is that? Even bank robbers get out after a few years. It's New Jersey's "Alimony Life Sentence." Divorce never ever ends in New Jersey.
The state's seriously out-of-date 1950s-era alimony laws were written when virtually all women were stay-at-home mothers, and there were no jobs for women. Men were the family breadwinners.
But today lifetime alimony is still predominate. Even when payments cause serious hardship for the payer (man or woman), they are routinely "awarded."
Lifetime alimony must be paid even when the payer is retired, depletes all assets to make payments; even when exorbitant payments lead to bankruptcy, house foreclosure, and insolvency. Alimony must be paid even if you're sick, out of a job, extreme hardships, if you retire or live in a small flat on rented furniture. Pay up – for life – or go to jail. In New Jersey it's the "never-ending divorce."
There is hope. "Good, honest people are suffering," says Tom Leustek, founder of the non-profit group New Jersey Alimony Reform. NJAR is a 501 (c) 4 non-profit organization, dedicated to change NJ's alimony law so it's fair for both divorcing parties.
"Court alimony orders seem to have lost all reason, money is handed out like candy with little or no regard for the hardships the payer faces. Unemployment, debt, poor health or job-downgrading don't seem to matter to the judges."
"Alimony shouldn't be a 'Lifetime Award' — or an incentive for the spouse never to return to work. Alimony should be support to a person until they can support themselves."
The chances for real reform look pretty good, says Leustek. In Massachusetts, Governor Patrick recently signed a radically overhauling alimony statute that replaced that state's harsh, out-of-date laws.
"Ultimately," says Leustek, "we don't want to see someone married for 10 years have to pay alimony for the next 50 years. This 'New Jersey lifetime sentence' is absurd."
Did you have a horror divorce? The group is looking for stories, members, and now the non-profit accepts donations. "We are the absolute best chance New Jerseyans have of getting the outdated alimony laws changed ASAP. The change in the law," continues Leustek, "will be made retroactive – so if your divorce settlement was unfair: our membership is your BEST chance of having it changed sooner than later. If you're staring at a lifetime of payments to your ex-spouse, you need to become a member right now."
Go to http://www.njalimonyreform.org/ and apply for FREE membership. Help get the laws changed.
SOURCE New Jersey Alimony Reform