Bridgewater, NJ (September 11, 2014) – On Wednesday, September 10, after two-and-a-half years of debate and amendments, Governor Chris Christie signed an alimony reform bill into law.
Jeralyn L. Lawrence, a partner at Bridgewater law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., played an instrumental role in structuring the bill and having it passed through Legislature. “This bill was two-and-a half years in the making and is the product of extended negotiations resulting in a fair and measured balance in the change to alimony in our state, benefiting both payers and payees,” she said. “It had strong bipartisan support and I thank the 160,000-member coalition spanning 24 different organizations for all of their efforts in getting this bill passed.” Lawrence, Chair of the Family Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, devotes her practice to matrimonial, divorce and family law, and is a trained collaborative lawyer and divorce mediator.
Under the new law, the length of alimony payments cannot exceed the length of any marriage under 20 years except in exceptional circumstances. It also sets specific guidelines to allow courts to modify or even terminate alimony if the payer retires, loses a job, or has income reduced; or if the payee cohabitates with another person. The payer will also be able to apply to have alimony terminated when he or she reaches the retirement age of 67.