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September 15, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

It’s only a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Last Wednesday, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill to reform New Jersey’s very out of date alimony laws. Of course divorce lawyers resisted with every fiber of their beings, but the bill received strong bi-partisan support in the state legislature. Here’s one article on the subject (Washington Times, 9/11/14).

The new law has a short reach. It confines the duration of an alimony order to the length of the marriage as long as it’s under 20 years. Marriages longer than 20 years that end in divorce can still result in permanent alimony for the lower-earning spouse. The law also permits greater leeway in modifying alimony orders, for example, if the paying spouse is unemployed longer than 90 days. Except in unusual circumstances, payers will not be required to pay past the usual age of retirement, i.e. 65 or 66.  Alimony will now be considered “transitional,” meaning that recipients will be expected to seek and obtain gainful employment.

In short, the bill is a half measure that, in our usual democratic process, satisfies neither reform advocates nor divorce lawyers seeking to maintain their own cash flow and their comrades in arms, radical feminists seeking to maintain the maximum cash flow from men to women. It’s nowhere near what it should be, but it’s better than nothing.

Where we should be regarding alimony is that it should be nearly non-existent. As I’ve said before, we live in a society that, right or wrong, considers all adults to be capable of working and earning a living. And there are essentially no impediments to anyone’s doing so. Given that, no one should get a free ride. No one, solely by dint of a temporary marriage that can be dissolved for any or no reason, should be able to goldbrick even for a short time. Yes, there should be a period during which one spouse is able to retrain for employment if that’s necessary, but that shouldn’t be longer than a couple of years. And some form of alimony is appropriate if one former spouse is too old and/or infirm to work and earn. But beyond that, the concept of equality between the sexes demands an end to outdated notions like alimony.

People need to be responsible for their own actions and if one spouse opts out of the workforce, then he/she — not the other person - needs to bear the consequences of doing so.

And let’s not forget that existing alimony laws discourage marriage. They do so by warning particularly men at the outset that, if their contemplated marriage fails, they’ll be on the hook paying someone they no longer like potentially for the rest of their lives. And of course once one ex starts receiving alimony, he/she may shy away from remarriage because to do so would mean the end of the gravy train.

Then there’s the fact that alimony essentially means indentured servitude for the payer. As Massachusetts alimony reform advocate Stephen Hitner explained,

Outdated alimony laws need to be fixed “throughout the country,” said Stephen Hitner, the lead advocate for Massachusetts’ alimony reform who is now a divorce mediator and consultant in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

After Massachusetts passed it into law, the attorney said that an 80-year-old, alimony-paying man wrote him to say, “Thank you. I can finally retire,” and a couple were free to marry because now the second spouse’s income would not be included in the alimony calculus.

The National Parents Organization of course was instrumental in passing the alimony reform legislation in Massachusetts Hitner referred to.

As a general rule, alimony should be abolished altogether as an artifact of times long gone by. The lawyers and radical feminists won’t like it when that happens, but the rest of us will rejoice. The New Jersey law is far from where we need to be, but it’s a couple of steps closer.

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National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization

National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.

#alimony, #reform, #ChrisChristie, #divorcelawyers, #radicalfeminists

Comments   

0 #7 we still haven't eliminated slaveryDr Darryl Jewett 2014-11-05 17:46
@ npoab -

We still haven't eliminated slavery. It is alive and well with out current system of child support enforcement. And the verdict's still out on the Nineteenth Amendment. As long as governments are still willing to use women and children as weapons against responsible, honest and hard-working men and as long as women are willing to lend themselves and their children to those ends, then maybe they shouldn't be allowed to vote.
+1 #6 Ballot Initiativesjstiles 2014-09-24 15:59
They are simply questions voters see at the ballot box when they vote. It's an end-around of the state legislatures/governors.

This group in GA has a website.

http://www.ga-alimonyreform.org/

Clearly there are no easy answers. I understand that. I think it's pretty obvious, at least right now, that the only prudent course of action is to simply educate men on the current legal and financial pitfalls of marriage and family, and urge them to avoid the whole thing.

Perhaps massive numbers of men avoiding marriage will get people's attention. I don't know. At the very least we'd have fewer victims of this whole mess we'd need to console.
0 #5 Ballot initiativesnpoab 2014-09-23 23:13
What are they? I think I just wore out my welcome mat with me delegate so I need to look elsewhere.
+1 #4 Ideasjstiles 2014-09-23 15:19
I really appreciate that NPO is trying. I do. But, at some point, NPO really needs to take a hard look at what it's doing. MA alimony reform was a disaster. What little was accomplished is still being ignored by the courts anyway. We know family courts have largely ignored attempts at shared parenting, too. But here we are again going through the same exercise in New Jersey. You know what Einstein said about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I don’t know if my ideas will work better, but surely it’s time to try new ones. Look at the success the gay marriage and pot legalization movements have enjoyed using ballot initiatives. That seems to be worth a try. What about civil disobedience? Divorce Corp’s effort is excellent; we need more of that. How about PSAs warning young men about marriage? Take a cue from AVFM and get noticed. In any event, get this fight out of the back rooms of our state legislatures, and in front of the American people.
+1 #3 Jon,npoab 2014-09-22 20:54
Jon,
It took us some 400 years to rid slavery, about 100 years to rid segregation and much shorter than that to allow women to vote. Tell us not what is wrong with our approach but in which ways your approach is better.


[quote name="jon stiles"]All of this "reform" talk is BS. Nothing will change. See Massachusetts for recent example.

"Alimony will now be considered “transitional,” meaning that recipients will be expected to seek and obtain gainful employment."

Bologna! In PA alimony is "rehabilitative ", but when I saw a lawyer about possibly divorcing my wife they said I'd have to pay it. This is for a woman who has ten years of college, including an engineering degree (that I paid for), and has been in the work force for the past 8 years. Alimony is meant to steal a man's money and give it to his wife. Plain and simple. [...]
0 #2 Please do somethingjstiles 2014-09-22 20:33
All of this "reform" talk is BS. Nothing will change. See Massachusetts for recent example.

"Alimony will now be considered “transitional,” meaning that recipients will be expected to seek and obtain gainful employment."

Bologna! In PA alimony is "rehabilitative ", but when I saw a lawyer about possibly divorcing my wife they said I'd have to pay it. This is for a woman who has ten years of college, including an engineering degree (that I paid for), and has been in the work force for the past 8 years. Alimony is meant to steal a man's money and give it to his wife. Plain and simple. Anyone who can't see that is painfully naïve. And, oh, btw, the bitch is in line for 60% of our marital property too. 40% for me, the one who has worked his ass off for everything.

Next time, please spare us about these alimony reform "victories." You all got your asses handed to you and you just won't admit it. Please do something meaningful. That would be nice.
0 #1 Ayenpoab 2014-09-15 22:59
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