There is a bill pending in the New Jersey Assembly that substantially revises our alimony laws.  As our alimony law currently exists, there are four types of alimony: permanent, limited duration, rehabilitative and reimbursement.  This bill eliminates permanent alimony and establishes guidelines for the amount and duration of alimony awards.

It is proposed that the term of alimony be contingent on the number of years of marriage.  For example, if the duration of the marriage is five years or less, the term of alimony shall not be greater than one half of the number of months married.  If the marriage is between five and ten years, the alimony term shall not be greater than 60% of the number of months married.  The increments and percentages go up to 20 years.  After that, it is within the court’s discretion to determine whether alimony should be limited or indefinite.

The bill also states that the amount of alimony should generally not exceed the recipient’s need or 30% to 35% of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes.  There are grounds for deviation, however.

Thirdly, alimony shall terminate when the payor spouse reaches social security retirement age, although there are a few exceptions.

There are also provisions in this bill that allow existing alimony awards to be modified to comply with the terms of the bill (once enacted into law).

It will be interesting to see what happens with this bill.  We will advise you if and when this bill, or a modified version, becomes law.

Maria Imbalzano is the Co-Chair of Stark & Stark’s Divorce Group in the Lawrenceville, New Jersey office. For questions, please contact Ms. Imbalzano.