This proposed legislation will change existing divorce agreements and should be opposed because:
1) The state of New Jersey cannot afford to fund an already over-burdened court system that will be inundated with divorce cases that will be ripped open and re-litigated. Where will the state money come from to pay for additional judges and court staff needed to handle a huge volume of court motions that will be filed to change existing divorce agreements?
2) The bills are an attempt to abolish permanent alimony that was either agreed upon by both parties when they signed their divorce agreement, or was awarded by a judge after hearing the special circumstances of each case.
3) Judges already apply case law to reevaluate agreements on a case-by-case basis to determine if adjustments to alimony are necessary for extenuating circumstances. Proponents of the laws are mis-guiding the public into thinking that there is no recourse for special circumstances. There already is.
4) This proposed legislation is an attempt to retroactively change divorce agreements that took into consideration alimony and the division of OTHER assets at the time of divorce, such as houses, cars, and bank accounts. Assets were divided at the time of divorce based on the presumption of permanent alimony. These "reform" bills will hurt the spouse that was given alimony at the time of the divorce while the other spouse already walked away with the other assets. These bills are grossly unjust because they do not take into consideration the other assets that were already divided; they only eliminate the one spouses's alimony.
5) The proposed legislation does not include a clause to reinstate alimony when a spouse gets a new job. It only tries to change alimony when a job is lost. So, it is inequitable legislation. And, proponents of the legislation are only giving the public one side of their stories.
These bills are unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer money to benefit those who do not want to pay the alimony and child support that they agreed to in their divorce agreements.
Veto this legislation and let the judges continue to have the discretion to handle these cases based on the special circumstances of each family. In many cases, permanent alimony is justified. Under no circumstances should existing divorce agreements be changed.
To retroactively change existing divorce agreements throughout the State of New Jersey is wrong and will harm many - including children - who are struggling to get by and rely on that income.