N.J. Alimony Reform Measure Is Panned by Family Lawyers

, New Jersey Law Journal

   | 14 Comments

Lawyers come out in force at a legislative hearing to oppose a bill that would abolish permanent alimony and make other drastic changes to New Jersey law on spousal support.

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What's being said

  • Guilty of long-term marriage and the breadwinner by default

    Of course attorneys represent both sides. I was the breadwinner since my ex did not report any income for the years just before asking for the divorce. My attorney stalled and fumbled on the discovery of my ex's business ventures, while my income was gone through exhaustively and repetitvely. My attorney email the judge after the trial but before the verdict. My attorney scowled, chastised and was disdainful and disrespecting of the judge during the trial, while my ex's attorneys could not be polite and deferential enough to the judge. My ex submitted a the findings of fact and recommendation for judgment on an editable disc that the judge used to type in her judgment, while my attorney typed up 50 pages of impossible to read paper instead.

    My attorney was lackluster and even told the judge that my motions was just something he was "going through the motions of doing" and his tone of voice made it clear that he didn't think the judge should rule favorably on them. Yes, indeed, I had representation. - $500/hr representation, if you must know the cost. When I ran out of money, I was dumped, just before my ex filed contempt of court.

    There is no effective oversight of attorneys. And we have all had enough and there are too many of us to ignore and dismiss.

    Clear and fair guidelines are needed to prevent the unnecessary greed and maliciousness of divorce proceedings. Commitment to a marriage and a willingness to work hard is not a crime.



  • Digusted by attorneys

    You know... I may be on to something.. maybe the NJ Alimony Reform group needs to find out each and every attorneys name that is supporting the status quo and publish those and get the word out to NOT USE THESE ATTORNEYS OR FIRMS FOR ANYTHING... Maybe hitting them in the pocketbook like they do to those seeking relief would get their attention. Negative advertisment, loss of business and black listing them and their firms may be helpful. Anything is worth a shot right? Strength in numbers. I wrote to every single sponsor and cosponsor of A3909 and thanked them. I think everyone should!!

  • Digusted by attorneys

    You know... I may be on to something.. maybe the NJ Alimony Reform group needs to find out each and every attorneys name that is supporting the status quo and publish those and get the word out to NOT USE THESE ATTORNEYS OR FIRMS FOR ANYTHING... Maybe hitting them in the pocketbook like they do to those seeking relief would get their attention. Negative advertisment, loss of business and black listing them and their firms may be helpful. Anything is worth a shot right? Strength in numbers. I wrote to every single sponsor and cosponsor of A3909 and thanked them. I think everyone should!!

  • Digusted by attorneys

    just as child support has an end so should alimony... these attorneys have earned their reputation as bottom feeding scum suckers rightfully. For pete's sake can we get some legislation that actually makes sense and allows people that are going through a divorce to know that when it's over its OVER... no one should be subjected to supporting a spouse once they are divorced. Get off your butt and get a job, we all have an obligation to support ourselves. Just because you gave birth to a child or you married somone in NJ doesn't give you the right to feed off their flesh for ever. I am not from here, but in my home state you don't get alimony unless you have been married more than 10 years and then your spouse has to make substantially more than you and there is no guarantee you will get it then. Seems to work just fine there...



    Get real people. I am a female and my boyfriend IS A LAWYER... I think that an attorney that is not in support of this legislation should be publicly ridiculed for the scum he or she is and no one should retain those attorneys because it's obvious by their support of not reforming alimony that they are going to stick it to you in the case by billing you to death.



    You have an ethical obligation to represent client is a responsible way and perpetuating litigation is not responsible, it's unethical.

  • Julia

    Yes, Shari, wasn't it interesting that the lawyer stated that alimony is "modifiable" by death ? Interestingly enough, that is really not the case. The court orders a huge insurance policy to be carried by the payer so that alimony CAN go on after the payers death. May I say GREED?

  • Shari Friedman

    I find it interesting that the article on the Family Matrimonial Bar opposing Alimony Reform and A3909 never mentions the large number of people that appeared and testified in front of the assembly about the negative impact of alimony on their lives and their families. There were hundreds of men and women - typical alimony payors (male and female) and their family members testifying about the impact and the significant burden of alimony payments that never end. This article does not even reference the plight of these individuals as if people do not matter and the lives ruined by the status quo does not matter either. Only members of the bar and special interest groups testified against the bill A3909 - not one person other than attorneys testified against A3909 when in contrast hundreds of people testified in favor of the legislation.

    The Matrimonial Bar showed clearly to those attending the meeting that their motive is financial - the current laws enable matrimonial attorneys the right to litigate every divorce at least twice and the desire to terminate alimony at retirement is nothing more than divorce round #2.

    The only party that benefits from the status quo are the attorneys. How is "alimony of indefinite duration" any different than permanent alimony? The matrimonial Bar claimed at the hearing that currently there is no permanent alimony - which received quite a chuckle in a room full of permanent alimony payors. They also claimed that under current law people can seek modifications. Many people attending the hearing including a woman whose husband was dying of brain cancer requested modifications and were denied. A member of one of the groups testifying against A3909 shared that alimony is modifiable upon death. I am sure that was very comforting to everyone in the room that once they are dead that their alimony plight will finally be over.

    It is really sad when a profession puts their only greed so far ahead of the rights of human beings - particularly when that profession is supposed to defend law and justice.

  • Shari Friedman

    I find it interesting that the article on the Family Matrimonial Bar opposing Alimony Reform and A3909 never mentions the large number of people that appeared and testified in front of the assembly about the negative impact of alimony on their lives and their families. There were hundreds of men and women - typical alimony payors (male and female) and their family members testifying about the impact and the significant burden of alimony payments that never end. This article does not even reference the plight of these individuals as if people do not matter and the lives ruined by the status quo does not matter either. Only members of the bar and special interest groups testified against the bill A3909 - not one person other than attorneys testified against A3909 when in contrast hundreds of people testified in favor of the legislation.

    The Matrimonial Bar showed clearly to those attending the meeting that their motive is financial - the current laws enable matrimonial attorneys the right to litigate every divorce at least twice and the desire to terminate alimony at retirement is nothing more than divorce round #2.

    The only party that benefits from the status quo are the attorneys. How is "alimony of indefinite duration" any different than permanent alimony? The matrimonial Bar claimed at the hearing that currently there is no permanent alimony - which received quite a chuckle in a room full of permanent alimony payors. They also claimed that under current law people can seek modifications. Many people attending the hearing including a woman whose husband was dying of brain cancer requested modifications and were denied. A member of one of the groups testifying against A3909 shared that alimony is modifiable upon death. I am sure that was very comforting to everyone in the room that once they are dead that their alimony plight will finally be over.

    It is really sad when a profession puts their only greed so far ahead of the rights of human beings - particularly when that profession is supposed to defend law and justice.

  • Robin Hair

    NJ Matrimonial cases should be heard in Criminal Court instead of Family Court as "Alimony of indefinite term" is the equivalent of "Life Without Parole. There should be a New Jersey penal code for "Permanent Alimony as you're literally charged with the crime of "divorce" with no hope of modification or termination.

    My husband's story:

    Meet James Hair. Terminally ill, diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme IV, an extremely aggressive brain tumor with a poor prognosis of one year. Four months after filing for alimony termination, and MRI revealed the brain tumor had returned and was now five times larger. He then had a second emergency brain surgery, was hospitalized and near death. The so-called “NJ Family Court” then garnished more than half his Social Security Disability benefit and gave it to his ex-wife, an elementary school teacher with a salary of $80,000 a year and no dependents.
    Think Alimony is fair in New Jersey?

    Before he passed away, Mr. Hair was placed in the hands of the so-called “Family Court”. Even though terminally ill, a false “out-of registration” order was filed in New York City, Mr. Hair’s state of residence, for “child support arrears,” both of his sons were emancipated and no child support was due. Since Mr. Hair was too weak to leave bed, his current wife was forced to make 10 appearances in New York City Family Court, Support Collections Unit, to prove he wasn’t in child support arrears.
    Through these orders, he faced threats of incarceration, bank account seizure, driver’s license suspension, passport revocation, a negative credit rating, “double-dipping,” if he failed to continue to meet his alimony payments. Each month until his death, more than half of Mr. Hair’s Social Security disability payments were taken to pay alimony to his ex-wife, even though her income of $80,000 per year was far greater than his.

    This is proof the alimony system in New Jersey is disgustingly broken and in dire need of overhaul.

    James’ case is just one example of the many people who suffer every day under the current New Jersey alimony laws.

    James’ case is not an isolated story. Just check out the James Hair story in the words of his attorney:

    http://njfamilylaw.foxrothschild.com/2013/10/articles/alimony/terminating-alimony-for-terminally-ill-patient-easy-right-wrong/#.Uml310b_0nA.gmail

  • Robert Gude

    Of course the lawyers want to keep as much confusion and open ended financial terms as possible; it is good for business. NJ families are tired of getting screwed at the hands of divorce attorneys who work both sides in collusion. "nothing gets settled until 40% of the assets have been billed", I have heard a friend who is an attorney say. We must get A3909 passed but cannot stop there. We must continue to fight to reform the entire court system including the dreaded Domestic Violence laws which is another way the attorneys continue to bill for false allegations of DV. It used to be "slip and fall" attorneys were the most reviled among other attorneys now it is the family lawyers who even other lawyers look on with scorn. My friend the attorney(not family law) says every time he is around family lawyers he always has to go home and shower because they are so slimy. Making your living off of families misery is no way to make a life! We need alimony reform Now!

  • Lisa Brown

    Really, If you listen to the audio, you can see that those in favor of A3909, CLEARLY outnumbered the others: Listen to Monday, Nov. 25, 2013.
    http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/archive_audio2.asp?KEY=AJU&SESSION=2012

  • Al Poor

    Really? Lawyers out in force? Maybe 10 lawyers vs 300-400 alimony reformists! The only reason lawyers want to represent both sides is for the billable hours. If you truly care about your image start talking to Charles Mainor and NJ Alimony Reform members about getting bill 3909 passed and make NJ join the rest of civilization with fair alimony laws.
    If child support can have guidelines and an end date, so should alimony.

  • Bea

    Ms Gallagher, I am curious to know how many lawyers does it take to call it "in
    force"? I was there and it didn't appear that there were many lawyers there. (Maybe 10.) However the room was filled with approximately 350 NJ alimony reform members who have had their lives destroyed by lawyers and Judges in this state! Did you hear the them? Shameful, isn't it???

  • Terry Power

    About time the rogue litigating divorce attorneys in New Jersey were reined in. They're the only winners in most divorces. Shame on them for even attempting to keep the broken and outdated status quo.

  • Kelly Rentschler -Mills

    Ms. Gallagher, I'm not sure why you are saying the lawyers were out in force, because that simply is NOT the truth. If you had actually attended you would have seen that it was the pro alimony reformers who were out in force! Can't anyone tell the truth anymore?!!!

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