After nearly two-and-a-half years of consideration, the outdated alimony law in New Jersey may soon undergo a much-needed reform.

New Jersey’s alimony law may soon undergo a major update. The pending alimony reform bill, which has already won the support of the State Assembly and the New Jersey State Senate, is now awaiting approval by Gov. Chris Christie. The proposed changes are designed to revitalize New Jersey’s outdated alimony law and, if approved, will apply to all future divorce cases.
The bill is the product of over two years of discussion, during which State lawmakers and interest groups advocated for varying degrees of alimony reform. Some critics feel the proposed changes are not substantive enough, while supporters believe the bill is an important step in the right direction.

Among the most significant changes included in the bill, the term “permanent alimony” is to be replaced with “open duration alimony” to eliminate any confusion caused by the former phrasing. The bill also outlines how circumstances involving unemployment, retirement, and cohabitating relationships with a new partner will influence, reduce, or terminate New Jersey alimony payments.

Additionally, in divorce cases for marriages that last fewer than 20 years, the bill prevents the duration of alimony payments from exceeding the length of the marriage, save for “exceptional circumstances”.

Notably, the pending reform bill also requires judges to provide an explanation, in writing, of the factors considered in reaching an alimony decision for any case where alimony is part of the divorce agreement.

The bill must receive Gov. Christie’s signature before being passed into law.