Alimony reform has emerged on the horizon in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Why are such adjustments being considered necessary?
Well for starters supporters of reform indicate alimony laws are outdated. Laws enacted during the 1940’s and 1950’s were put in place when most households were financially supported by a singular (predominantly male) income. Alimony was seen as a safety net so that homemakers were supported after divorce.
However, society has evolved from these gender roles to include an increase in multi-employed/income households.
The duration of alimony payments has largely fallen to the discretion of a judge, and under the current construction can become permanent if the former spouse does not remarry. This stipulation has arguably resulted in cases where former spouses are supported by their ex forever, placing a financial burden on the latter while providing little to no incentive for the former to seek and obtain employment or become self sufficient via personal income.
Another questionable tactic/loophole in the old system is remarriage. The threat of alimony has, in some cases, led to prolonged unhappy marriages as a means of avoidance.
New laws and their supporters seek to amend these potential problems by making the terms of duration more black and white corresponding to the length of the marriage, while also allowing for the suspension or termination of alimony if cohabitation with a new partner occurs for a recognized period of time.
While alimony does not appear to be going away, the manner in which it is used/applied seems to be transitioning, and divorcees will have to adjust with it.