After years of the status quo, alimony reform has become a hot topic in New Jersey. Jef Henninger, Esq is on the front lines of the fight for alimony reform. In fact, Jef is one of the only family law attorneys in New Jersey that supports comprehensive alimony reform that includes, among other things, alimony guidelines. The Family Law Section of the New Jersey Bar Association opposes alimony guidelines among other issues that I support.
While I will not indicate why the Bar Association may or may not oppose our efforts, it is my opinion that at least many attorneys oppose comprehensive alimony reform because they know that this will seriously impact their income. Alimony reform will in fact decrease my own income, so I know that this is a real concern for some attorneys. However, I don't think that attorneys should profit from a confusing system. I would rather make less money and give my clients better service. That's why I support alimony reform.
Please keep in mind that this is not a gender issue. The typical argument I hear is that alimony reform will impact women and children. First, child support is a separate issue so children should not come into play here. Furthermore, there are plenty of women paying child support although I agree that the average case involves men paying alimony. But what about the scenario where the man has more money than the woman? In that case, the woman may have to take less than she would have normally received because the man can outspend her.
Even if both sides can fund their legal bills, alimony disputes often account for a large portion of a costs of a divorce case. Thus, even if the woman gets the appropriate amount of alimony, how much will it cost her in legal fees? This has to be subtracted from the amount she receives. Furthermore, the less money the man has, the less he can provide for any children the couple may have. The other problem here is that the woman doesn't really know when the alimony will end. At any point, the man can file a motion to reduce or terminate alimony. Even if the woman can defeat the motion, it will cost her a significant amount of legal fees to do so.
Thus, this is not a man vs. woman issue. This is about common sense for all sides. Its about speeding up divorce cases and lowering the ridiculous legal fees that clients have to pay just to get divorced. You don't have to take my word for it; do some research and decide for yourself. If you'd like to join the fight for alimony reform, please visit http://njalimonyreform.org. When you go to that site, you can follow NJAR on Facebook, sign up for the email list and donate any amount of money to help fund the efforts for reform.
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