Is it time to scrap lifetime alimony payments in divorce cases?

Wedding Rings
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“Alimony dates back centuries. The original idea was that once married, a man is responsible for a woman till death,” writes NPR’s Jennifer Ludden. “But that notion has shifted in recent decades, as more women have jobs and their own money. Now, a number of states are considering laws to end lifetime alimony.”

Today’s Question: Is it time to scrap lifetime alimony payments in divorce cases?

  • Emery

    Many men get at least as good as they give from marriage. But most marriages end in divorce, which under current law can be initiated by either party without any proof of breach of contract. In divorce men lose big.They have few if any rights to their children, who will likely be taught to hate them and the financial hit can be huge.

    But family law is such that the marriage, which neither party is under any obligation to make an effort to maintain, upon dissolution implies a very one-sided set of obligations. The wife gets the house, the kids, and most of the earnings. The husband gets screwed. So why would any right thinking man enter into it in the first place? By changing family law to include in all marriage licenses what amounts to a pre-nuptial clause, which outlines each parties obligations upon dissolution, more men would enter into marriage, and more men would be treated fairly after divorce.

  • Jamison

    Not only does alimony need to be reformed, but the formula’s for child support payments. They are structured under the assumption that non-custodial parents either have their children every other week (50% time), or that they’re just a weekend parent once or twice a month. The formula’s don’t take into account the myriad of work options that people often have to do.

  • KG

    Absolutely they need to reform alimony rules….this isn’t 1850 anymore! In MN the child support laws were changed to finally give credit for non custodial parents various % credit aid they have the children in their care. Altho my opinion. We should be a shared custody state…not defer to one parent. Lets get reform done on alimony. – set time limits to it, allow for special circumstances, etc.

  • kennedy

    Delinquent child support is a huge problem. When considering alimony as a separate issue, an update to law is worth discussing. Gender roles in society continue to evolve. While opportunity is not completely equal, both women and men serve as primary breadwinners. If there is a divorce, what responsibility does the high wage individual owe the other? It seems that it should depend on the circumstances. Simply marrying someone with high wages should not be a default ticket for the gravy train. If, however, one person sacrificed career opportunity and enabled career growth for the other, it would seem a shared effort and shared success.

    • eline


      • eline

        Kennedy, I am a female. I honestly do not know anyone that sacrificed for their spouse’s career. I am also a corporate executive. My former spouse did not sacrifice for my career. He did not entertain clients. In fact, he was fired from every job he had…then decided he did not want to work…so he stayed home with the kids. After my divorce, I hired a nanny for $800 a month- to me that was what his contribution was worth. No more, no less. I should have to pay him for the rest of my life? I don’t think so.

        • ShariPaul

          I agree with you!! In fact, most executive women that have a substantial career do NOT give it up when they get married and have kids. It becomes an easy excuse for women to state that they gave up their career – when in reality, most did not have a career. I live in a successful community and most women that had achieved law degrees, MBA’s – continued to work, possibly not at the same capacity – after having kids.

        • Melissa Lee Pappas

          Eline you should not have to pay him for the rest of your life, but as the laws in New Jersey are you may wing up doing so unless there is reform. For your sake I hope you do not reside in New Jersey.

    • The problem in New Jersey is that the Family Support Services
      account comingles alimony and child support with a specific purpose in mind. By comingling these funds it allows the states to reach across state lines and use the Court system to force compliance with payment of alimony. I don’t think any of us has a problem with payment of Child Support. Alimony on the other have is nothing more than A Family Court Entitlement Program.

      I know the Federal and State Government Bureaucracies are purposefully trying to push and defer the costs for potential welfare and unemployment recipients (obligee’s) onto the backs of decent taxpaying citizens. The Judiciary, by awarding huge Alimony awards, protects the Bureaucracy from incurring the costs to support these people. Ultimately the people (obligors) will rebel. The Federal Government, by matching state wage garnishment monies, fosters this dependent thinking. We must stand up and tell the Government that we will not take this anymore. Title IV funding to the State governments must stop as it is destroying the very fabric of our independency

  • david

    I have never heard of someone in real life having to pay or receiving alimony. But then the idea of the stay at home mother/house wive seems to have gone extinct during my parents generation.

    • Tom Leustek

      You may not live in a state where lifetime alimony is the default outcome of a divorce where a difference in income exists just prior to separation. In New Jersey, there is not even income averaging, rather the highest income earned is what the amount of alimony is based upon. Imagine this, you work a full time job and any extra that you can to bring home the bucks. You do this to pay the bills realizing it is not sustainable for the long term, but the bills have got to get paid so you do it. Then your ex opts out of the marriage and is entitled by law to lifetime alimony from you. Guess what, in NJ you will be REQUIRED to continue working as you have for the rest of your life. Now you have to pay your own bills, and a very large new bill, the lifetime alimony. And if you cannot keep up the pace… your future has a jail cell in it, and because you cannot work while in jail, but the alimony arrears keep growing you go further and further into a nightmarish debt. You will be hounded by the Sheriff’s office for the rest of your days. Or you can get a third overtime job and pay the alimony. My outrageous scenario is not the plot of a movie, it is real life for some people on our Garden State. And when you ask lawyers and judges about such cases, they usually dismiss them as outliers, the unfortunate few who weren’t lucking enough to afford the tens to hundreds of thousands that an experienced family lawyers will take to possibly get you out of trouble. Would anyone like to move to the Garden State? Better not be married to a dependent spouse.

      • Dona

        It’s a sad but true story for all divorced in NJ. Yes Tom, no one should get married in NJ until this law is changed to eliminate lifetime alimony. It’s a lifetime death sentence that ruins families and lives.

  • Wally

    Child support can be just if it’s fairly done, but often it isn’t. Alimony is stupid. Let women who leave husbands, and men who leave wives find their own way. And whoopee, who’s gonna pay alimony with all these new GLBT “marriages”?

  • Jim G

    Every marriage and therefore every divorce is unique. If there are no minor children involved the divorce decree should meet the needs of both separating individuals. I can see the need for alimony payments for some, and gender shouldn’t matter, who don’t have the job skills to support themselves. I can also see the need for temporary alimony to facilitate a transition to a separate life. And then, when the earning potentials are roughly similar, I can see the case for no alimony.

    Negotiation and attorneys representing both parties should affect a reasonably proper dissolution. I’ve been married twice and divorced once. It was emotionally very painful. It’s not something I’d want to repeat ever again, but I want to encourage those going through this searing event that there is a worthwhile life to be lived on the other side of divorce.

    • Tom Leustek

      Life yes. But it is a very different kind of existence for the lifetime alimony payer. Imagine a debt as big and often bigger than a mortgage payment, but with NO END to it. A debt that is never, ever paid off. My attorney said, with a completely straight face and in all seriousness, “its not as permanent as it sounds, it ends when you die or she dies”. Who, you might ask, would sign up for a lifetime of torture? New Jersey divorce attorneys are notorious for using the following statement to get their clients to agree to lifetime alimony. They say, “the law allows you to get your alimony modified when your circumstances change”. Not until you have signed, and then begin to investigate does it become clear that NJ courts are notorious for not reducing alimony when a person retires, or illness, or job loss. This is what I have come to call the “hell or high water law”. The law says its possible, but for all practical purposes it is impossible. Welcome all those thinking about moving to New Jersey, the land of opportunity, The Garden State! Welcome all those thinking of marrying in New Jersey. Just be very careful that you don’t marry the wrong person. The above can happen to you!

      • ShariPaul

        And my husband had a Property Settlement Agreement that he negotiated in good faith and gave up many considerations including she received 70% of the marital assets and he gave up ability to reduce her alimony if her income increased – he did this for a provision that he believed allowed him to terminate the alimony at age 65. Guess what? He went back to collect on his portion of the “deal” after reaching age 65 and after his ex received her part of the bargain – only to be denied by the courts.

  • Permanent alimony hurts the entire family. It keeps spouses in court, the lawyers fat and happy, and the children in the middle of bitter financial arguments. Permanent alimony keeps one spouse in the poorhouse and the other from realizing freedom and their true potential. In the distant past men were favored in divorce and in an effort to change that the scales had been tipped the other way. Now we have a situation where the higher earning spouse is saddled with a lifetime debt that they can never get out from under and the family court benefits from this through federal subsidies, ( Read Title IV of the Social Security Act), the lawyers also benefit from endless litigation. The higher earning spouse has no hope of modification for retirement even though the opposing spouse will get part of their pension and can collect on the former spouses Social Security. Even if the higher earning spouse becomes disabled, modification is impossible to get, even though the law allows for it. The current system is not about fairness or the best interests of the parties or their children, it’s about money plain and simple. In the current system children are used as pawns for financial gain. This is simply wrong there should be a presumption of equal parenting. Extenuating circumstances can be taken care of in court. What we have now seems to automatically deem the higher earning spouse as the bad parent and the bad spouse! This is neither fair nor just. People who support Alimony reform only want to see fair, balanced, and predictable outcomes for ALL, not just the higher or lower earner. People who support Alimony Reform want to stop the family finances from ending up in the hands of the attorneys like they do now. Make no mistake the lawyers are about keeping their cash cow and nothing else. How many people do you know who have handed over much of the family finances to lawyers? Alimony Reform is about fairness to ALL parties of a divorce, not just the one who pays. Divorce should not only be an end to a marriage, but also a new beginning for both parties. The current system keeps the parties tied up in court and tied together in bitterness and really hurts the children. As someone who was a young widow with small children I ask you to ponder why widows and widowers are expected to pick themselves up and create a new life without a lifetime of survivor benefits, then why are divorced people not expected to do the same. Shame on those who want to thwart real balance, fairness, and predictability in the family courts.

    The Governor of NJ should investigate the entire family court system in NJ. The whole family court system is horribly corrupt! Many Judges need to be unseated and many lawyers should be disbarred. If the person responsible for this article would like to have some idea of the corruption taking place in the family courts contact me on facebook. I’m sure some of the other posters here also can tell you of the horrible corruption taking place. These people are hurting the children of the state and something needs to be done to EXPOSE THE WHOLE STORY!

  • KenBesold

    I divorced my ex in 2007. She got half of the marital assets to include
    half the value of the marital home. I also had to pay half of her lawyer
    fee’s. I got screwed twice. She is the one who left the marital home by
    moving in her grandmothers house, stole my identity and opened 5 credit
    accounts without my approval, had more than 2 dozen affairs and abused
    drugs and alcohol during the whole time…. I have to pay her Lifetime Alimony only
    because she claimed that she was Depressed, Bi-Polar and Schizophrenic.
    She was ordered by the court to apply for Social Security disability and
    keep me in the loop. Never did. When I asked what happened I was told
    by her lawyer that I’m no longer married so I’m not entitled to that
    information. It’s called the Right to Privacy Law. Today I’m remarried
    to the best woman ever and if not for her I would have not made it
    through the whole process. I still pay alimony to a drug
    addict/alcoholic. I call it ENABLING. I cannot retire because of the
    current law, cannot move because 33% of my check goes to my ex. This is
    not fair to me or my present spouse. Why am I a taxpayer, Army Veteran
    and Job Holder have to be in this situation. I ask only one thing from
    our law makers, LIVE ONE DAY IN OUR SHOES, and then tell me if I’m

  • Dona

    YES! Lifetime alimony is a death sentence. Never being free from the person you are divorced from. Until the day you die on your death bed you have to write a check to your ex for alimony! That’s crazy!!!!!!!!end the madness now!

  • Ruby2008x

    People who have been out of the workforce for 20 years as I had been have opportunity to become independent earners. If you view your future as dismal and possibly a welfare recipient without the monetary aid of an ex partner for the remainder of your life, you are so lucky to have the New Jersey laws on your side! I could not imagine being held responsible to provide a roof over my own head, as well as someone the courts hold dependent on me for the rest of my life. Exasperating!

  • Al

    Lifetime alimony is just another vehicle allowed by law to PUNISH on spouse over the other driven mainly by revenge,greed, and promote suffering till death due mainly to failed marriages or civil unrest in the household. Lifetime alimony is warranted when spouse are elderly and cannot be self sufficient or someone with a disability or poor health reasons that does not allow the individual to continue their productive life otherwise or alimony should be durational or rehabilitative if warranted based on criteria of age education and net worth.

    • ShariPaul

      Even then lifetime alimony is not warranted because it leaves an unfair burden on the payer to assume a permanent financial responsibility for another. If the alimony recipient is disabled, they would have received 50% o the assets at divorce and would also be eligible to receive social security disability if truly disabled. At the very least, it should end at retirement age – social security normal retirement – SSNRA>

      • Al


        I am permanently disabled and pay permanent alimony therefore I get to financially support another capable yet unemployed x spouse who has hit the win for life at the ripe old age of 47 so I know what its like to pay till death which by the Grace of GOD I’m hoping we can reverse this insanity…..

  • jeff

    I’m a 61 year old divorced man with lifetime alimomny staring me in the eye. I pay my ex almost $6K a month so she can take 2 vacations a year, live the life of the rich & famous while I struggle to maintain my mortgage and can”t afford a car. I work 6 days a week and don’t know if retirement is in my future…….

    • Maryland Alimony Reform

      This story is a prime example that Indefinite alimony needs to end. Financial punishment for life in this case as with many others.

  • Maryland Alimony Reform

    With current antiquated Indefinite alimony laws in place, there is no escape from lifelong financial entanglement between the payor and recipient. Such laws were written to accommodate a specific time period and generation. Generations have changed, household incomes have changed, the higher earning spouse is NOT always generated by the male but modern day society, often the female is considered the primary bread winner in many households. Anyone regardless of age has the ability to educate themselves in the workplace. Opportunities exist for individuals INCLUDING lifetime alimony recipients. ZERO excuses will be tolerated that these opportunities do not exist in our country. We teach our children to become self-sufficient, therefore, the time is now for lifetime alimony recipients to acquire the same self-sufficiency and independence benefiting not only themselves, but society as a whole! Abusing the system is not the answer. Indefinite alimony is a cancer, durational alimony is the cure!

    Maryland Alimony Reform
    “Band Together For Change”

  • Yes it is…….In fact it is WAY overdue.

    . There is simply no reason why the result of divorce, regardless of the agreement during the marriage, allows one party to do nothing and be rewarded with essentially
    lifetime welfare. Unacceptable in every other area of American life except divorce in a few archaic states.
    The only people supporting the status quo are the lottery winner recipients and
    the attorneys who make their living off the backs of the lifetime litigation
    that ensues in these cases. Stop the slavery, stop the lifetime animosity, and
    make everyone to get on with living their own productive life post divorce.

    • Ali Whiting

      Well said!

  • eline

    Lifetime alimony should be scrapped. At the very least, alimony should end at retirement age. When a married couple’s wage earner retires, the couple lives off savings, retirement accounts, SS and maybe a pension. During divorce, these are split. The non working spouse can collect SS off of the working spouse’s record. Why is it OK for one spouse, when divorced, to have to work until they die, under threat of jail, while the other continues to collect alimony…in addition to the retirement accounts that were already given to them? Why is it OK for the wage earner to be impoverished, depleting the assets that were already split…paying alimony when they are 70, 80, or 90 years old?

  • Steve Ballantyne

    Minnesota has no formula for maintenance unlike child support. This allows recipients to seek maximum amounts and use maintenance as punishment even when recipient committed infidelity. States such as Kansas and Texas have a reasonable process to determine maintenance time and amount.

  • ShariPaul

    There has been many recent articles including one today in the NY Post as well as a report this morning on Channel 11 in the NY Metro area stating how women are often (40%) the breadwinners in families with children. Clearly, either gender has the ability to be self sufficient post divorce and an award of lifetime alimony – till death do you part – is unfair to both parties. The payer is forced into a life of slavery, can never take a reduced posiiton with the alimony noose hanging over him or her. The payee is forced into never moving on with their life and never developing any semblance of independence. The payee often will not remarry and enter into a new life – why give up a permanent payment with no strings attached, and the payee also does not develop any marketable skills because they don’t have to. In reality – they too lose. And the family loses because the children of the marriage are caught between the two parents that have NO CLOSURE, and the ex’s are forced into a life of animosity toward one another.
    My 14 year old daughter has a good word alimony – “perpetual alimony” . She is the daughter of a perpetual alimony payer (17 years so far) to the first wife – who works in NYC with a significant salary and had children from the marriage that have long since been emancipated. So – does she need our money? No, but she will take whatever she can get as long as she can get it.

  • Yes, it is absolutely time to “scrap” lifetime alimony. It is just absurd that any man or woman should be ordered to pay an ADULT for a failed marriage. If there are children involved, then child support is required. But the state of NJ makes it very clear that children grow up and become independent. Why not adults?

  • Jon Worman

    The divorce is “no fault”, all assets ($, property, homes, pensions, 401(k) plans, etc.) are split 50/50 and if the marriage happens to be 10 years or longer (in NJ), regardless of anything else, one spouse is bound to pay another for life with the other being obligated to do othing but collect? How can you even attempt to justify that in the 21st century? Let’s quickly look at a few examples of the insanity of this. Assume todays life expectancy is to 80. Married at 20, divorced at 30, pay alimony for 50 years! Married at 25 divorced at 40, pay alimony for 40 years! Married at 40 divorced at 55, pay alimony for 25 years! No matter what these numbers are, it’s beyond any realm of fairness or justification.

    • stu

      I’m sorry but you are wrong. In my case nothing got split 50/was not given any credit for 350k of cash and assets under the guise of advances that she took i was also saddled with 100% of the marital debt. This is besides 10 years of alimony and child support in a 12 Year marriage to a PhD in psychology who never left her practice but decided to slow down and did not try very hard to pick up new business as we glided to divorce.

      the system is a sham and the judges and lawyers know it is. Simply a wealth transfer program without rationale, hrtihurting the wronged party and forcing bad settlements down peoples throats with threats of life time alimony.

  • Aislinn Darkenwold

    The change in Lifetime Alimony is long overdue. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should be forced to pay for someone else’s lifestyle. Why would anyone want to continue to be attached to an ex spouse? You never move on and start your new life. And that’s on both sides. I have been divorced and widowed. I have never asked for a hand out and have had to pull my self up and get on with life. Lifetime Alimony is a hand out for people who refuse to get over the past and get on with life.

  • Rich S

    My dad’s NJ alimony horror story

    ORIGINAL Story: “I was married after
    WWII in May 1946. Our marriage had not worked out. We agreed to divorce in
    Jan.1971. The divorce was settled in Mar. of 1971 and we split our assets
    50/50. Alimony was granted to my ex wife @50.00 per week for a lifetime.
    Alimony could be reduced or increased based upon my income. I retired June
    30,1990 and moved to Florida in 1992. I applied for a reduction in alimony due
    to my reduction in my income. the court denied me petition due to my high net
    worth. After 41 years of paying alimony and reaching the age of 88 ,I decided
    to try again to terminate my payments. My income and net worth had decreased to
    the extent I was living on sos.sec. and a small IRA . My investments were
    reduced by the stock market downturns 2001 & 2007. I was married to my
    former wife for 25 years and paying alimony for 41 years. The average life span
    of a male today is 74 yrs, I am 88yrs old. That is beyond the average by 14 yrs
    which I consider a lifetime. The current case will most likely go against me as
    the judge hearing the case needs to verify my earnings for 1971. The IRS cannot
    locate my tax return.. The Burlington, N.J. court does not have copies of the
    divorce nor do the lawyers involved in the legal matter. This [especially in
    NJ!] is called Justice!!!!!!!”

    UPDATE RE my Dad’s life-time alimony case:
    After multiple court-ordered delays and prompts by my Dad’s attorney, it was
    dictated by the judge that he would receive a 50% reduction of alimony. So his
    41-year alimony life-sentence continues without commutation. This cost him 1500
    in legal fees. He is not too pleased. (This actually ended exactly as I
    expected it would.)

  • Suffering in NJ

    I have a similar alimony horror story, paying alimony longer than the marriage lasted. Divorce should be just that…DIVORCE with no remaining ties. My ex is fully capable of working, but CHOOSES not to work, instead living with her boyfriend on my alimony payments. Lifetime alimony has to stop!

  • Woman of NJ

    Welfare is only temporary and so is unemployment, both meant as a stepping stone to get back on your feet, so why isn’t alimony?

    If alimony was paid out through the state I am sure that all the politicians, lawyers, and judges would end lifetime alimony because they would be paying for it through there taxes. The way it is now, they benefit from it.
    I am a divorced woman, who had two small kids and a 11 year marriage, never for one moment did I entertain asking for alimony. I’m an adult, I have pride.

  • Jim

    Go to any attorney web site and see what they say about the modification process? Ask any family attorney about the predictability of the outcome when left to a judge. Ask about the costs of any of these procedures and you will have your answer as to why reform is necessary.

  • Got smart and moved out of NJ!

    The NJ Family Court is supposed to be a Court of Equity and Fairness- my experience has left me wondering about how the Court has strayed so far from that edict? The reality is lifetime alimony is prejudicial against the payee (either male or female). Much as welfare was reformed years ago, it is beyond the point the any individual be handcuffed to an endless support obligation. My marrying my Ex was bad enough… it is absurd that I’m expected to support her for a longer period than our entire marriage!

    • Melissa Lee Pappas

      Got smart I agree with you but want to add a point. the NJ Family Court not only destroys the life of the payer but it also ruins the life of their family.
      A male relative of mine went through a tumultuous divorce. During Pendente Lite (pre-alimony payments) he was forced to pay over 50% of his income pre-tax, 27% of his income went to taxes, so he was left with about 23% of his income. Out of that 23% he had to pay for her health insurance and keep a life insurance policy on himself. How is someone supposed to survive on 10% of their income? The answer is that the cannot. They either do not pay and get arrested or they rely on their family (mother, father, sister, bother, cousin). This then puts financial and emotional stress on their family’s. So the NJ Family Court is not just destroying the lifer of the payer but also the life of their blood relative.

      • NoMoreMarxistsInDC

        The Courts have addressed that families are not obligated to pay for the support payor’s obligation since it is NOT their obligation. It would be a Due Process and Equal Protection violation.

        • Melissa Lee Pappas

          Yes the families of the obligator are no obligated to pay by the court however no person can survive on 23% of their previous salary. They cannot pay their and their ex’s legal bills and be able to provide themselves with housing, transportation and the daily necessities of life as well as paying for a life insurance policy (so that in case they die their ex-spouse will still get paid).
          A superior court judge told one of my male relatives if you do not have the money to pay what I have ordered you to then maybe you can borrow it from you family (not a direct quote, but the meaning is still the same). They may not be able to put in in an order, but they can sure throw it out there as a possibility.
          While there is no court order to oblige the families to pay the families must either take this spouse in and support them or pat them on the back wish them luck and forward their mail to 3rd cardboard box in the alley. I would not be able to turn one of my own away, could you?

          • Well said, Melissa. In our case, our Son would be in jail if we didn’t help. Tell me, how can he make money while in jail? It would be the end of his business. The judge also suggested the same thing to him the last time that he was in court and it was either jail time or money from us. Also how can he pay the money back when he is being raped by the court order? It makes NO sense and we MUST make the legislators understand the absurdity of it all!

  • LeeKallett

    This is my alimony horror story. In the no fault divorce state of Florida, the ex had many adulterous affairs with other women-including her 20 year old cousin. She gets rewarded for this and her changed sexual orientation with lifetime alimony by the Hillsborough County Court (Tampa) and I get punished financially. How is this right and just? It certainly isn’t and the time to fix such an injustice is now.
    Elvina and Lee Kallett of St. Pete Beach, FL – Pays lifetime alimony to woman unable to remarry

    Lee Kallett of St. Pete Beach, FL – Pays $4K in permanent alimony to lesbian ex-wife
    This is Lee Kallett and Elvina Kallett. He pays permanent alimony to a woman who left the marriage because she chose to live a lesbian

  • ElvinaBergmannKallett

    I strongly urge all to support alimony reform to abolish permanent alimony. At the conclusion of a divorce both parties should walk away in an equitable manner. Prior to the marriage they were individuals with separate lives, during marriage they
    merged, and upon divorce they should be allowed to return to their separate
    lives. One should not leave the marriage permanently tethered to the other.
    One should not reap the benefits of a free lifetime of alimony, while the
    other spends a lifetime wearing a financial yoke. By providing permanent
    alimony, Florida’s law today does just that. The current law rewards one
    spouse at the expense of the other. It took two people to make the
    marriage, and two people to make the divorce. In Florida, a no-fault
    divorce state, the permanent alimony provision certainly runs counter to
    the fairness and equality that is the spirit of the law, punishing the
    person forced to make lifetime alimony payments. It’s not fair. It’s not
    right. It needs to change!

  • Not only is it time to scrap lifetime alimony, the whole so called “Family” court system in New Jersey needs an overhaul. A complete overhaul.
    And frankly, so do the matrimonial lawyers. My brother who divorced his abusive wife in NJ, paid his lawyer over $300,000. He now pays over $5,000 each month in lifetime alimony. He works three jobs to do this.

    Here’s what happens: First, the lawyers look at your assets to see what is being split up. Whoa, did someone just let the fox into the hen house? Now the lawyers know how much they can bill you. Yes, really.

    Then, the lawyers bring your case before a judge or arbitrator, and your lawyer brings up a fictional point: “Oh, he dropped his salary over the last few years…” Now both sides argue this fictional point back and forth — bringing up new motions, bringing up added motions as each side adds to their bill, getting ever farther from staying on point – resolution – which by the way is never re-addressed till you – the client – starts to run out of money. I watched my brother pay over $30,000 in one month in attorney fees. I can only surmise they had the whole firm: an entire bank of lawyers, working on his case on non-existent, non-matters.

    Finally, the judges, drunk on their own omnipotent power, carelessly in the blink of an eye – cast a court order having nothing to do with fairness or justice. And it can never be changed. While lip service is given to change orders, trust me – ain’t happening. By brother went through 3 back procedures, couldn’t walk, and still never got even a month’s remission on alimony payments. And wound up in credit card debt for over $80,000 so he wouldn’t go to jail for missing alimony payments.

    Please, time for a change. Please – join It’s our best hope for getting the system changed because I’m pretty sure the lawyers aren’t going to help us (loss of income—we’re in for a tough fight there: evre take food out of a wolf’s mouth?!), and the judges don’t want anyone to take away one iota of their unbridled power. Meanwhile, WE, the people, are the shattered lives the lawyers and courts are leaving behind. Time for a change.

  • FemaleReformActivist

    New Jersey legislatures are doing good work and created Bill
    A3909 in an effort to update New Jersey alimony laws, assuring that the laws
    resemble 2013 social norms. I look forward to the continued good work and
    watching A3909 become law. Currently, New Jersey allows divorcees who are young, healthy, educated;
    working full-time; collecting child support and living off equitably
    distributed assets, to collect long-term and permanent alimony. This is
    devastating countless New Jerseyans. No one is exempt from paying, men and
    women pay.

    There are many errors made in divorce agreements that judges
    are not responsible for, rather it was the work of an attorney (s) or mediator
    or both: accounting mistakes, business evaluation mistakes, using gross income
    rather than net to configure alimony payments and gross amounts of alimony
    being paid out to young, educated, working divorcees. To just say that what was
    settled in mediation can’t be changed, is a gross injustice to countless New
    Jerseyans. People rely on their attorneys to do right by them, to represent
    their client’s best interest. However, too often, divorce outcomes in New
    Jersey are financially devastating to one party.

    This is not a socialist country. Therefore, rather than
    states allowing divorcees entitlement to an ex spouse’s earnings; I recommend
    that all states send a clear message expecting all divorcees to be self-reliant
    and independent. Are there special circumstances when a spouse, for some
    reason, decided to sit home all of their marital life, and at the time of
    divorce requires some term of spousal support? Sure, but only for a temporary
    or rehabilitative term.

    Legislatures who are working on reform are doing good work. Reform is
    not a matter of fairness; it’s about what is just. Is it just in 2013 to expect
    a person to support a former spouse long-term or permanently? No it isn’t and
    that is why Alimony Reform is needed in New Jersey, Florida and every other
    state where citizens are asking legislatures to update alimony law

  • Bob Beaton

    Alimony is merely indentured servitude. In my case my ex exaggerated my income to levels we never made together, so she is being kept in fine style while I go broke. Not only did she take over half of our assets at the time of divorce, but she is slowly getting the other portion.
    Requests for modifications are routinely denied so
    I am asking for your full support of NJ assembly bill A-3909 to revise New Jersey’s antiquated alimony laws, including establishing guidelines for the amount and duration of alimony awards and ending alimony at retirement. This is an important and urgently needed legislation. It will limit a highly adversarial legal process that harms families. The bill will also curtail outrageous and unfair judgments, as currently happens at an alarming frequency in our state. Please consider being a co- sponsor of the bill.
    Please be aware that A-3909 is not radical. In fact it follows very closely the recommendations that the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers made in 2007. It also closely follows the unofficial, but common place guidelines in practice in many jurisdictions in NJ.. A-3909 does not provide a one size fits all solution to divorce because it gives judges the ability to deviate from the guidelines if there is a sufficiently good reason to do so.
    The state of Massachusetts enacted similar legislation in 2011. Florida is poised to enact alimony reform. It’s now time for New Jersey, a “no fault” state, to live up to it’s progressive history and enact alimony reform that reflects the current state of our society.
    Enactment of this bill would allow the current alimony payers to move on with their lives and not be subjected to bench warrants, homelessness, depression and jail. They will also be able to retire instead of working until the day they die. It also will allow our children and grandchildren to be able to divorce and move on with their lives without the issues that today’s laws cause, including providing a financial incentive for divorce.

  • ElvinaBergmannKallett

    I have a job interview on Thursday. I plan to tell them I want them to continue my salary forever if I quit or get fired. I also want them to continue to
    pay my salary when and if I ever get another job. Although, let’s face it: why would I?

    I have drawn up an employment agreement that spells this out, along with the
    fact that if they go out of business or for some reason can’t afford to pay my
    salary anymore, they have to sue me to reduce their payments and it will take
    several months, maybe longer than a year, for a judge to order a reduction –
    and even then the judge may just decide to keep the payments to me coming.

    What do you think? Sounds like a pretty good deal for me, huh? That’s what lifetime alimony is all about. Why shouldn’t I also have such a good deal? (Thank you Robin Descamp).

    My husband is paying lifetime alimony to his ex-wife who left the marriage to pursue a lesbian lifestyle. For this, she was rewarded with $48,000/year lifetime alimony by the Tampa, FL court. My husband attempted to modify this amount when he made $30,000 less the year after the divorce andhas remained at that earning level for the last seven years (he’s in sales and relies on commissions). The Judge ruled that $30,000 less in income wasn’t a sufficiently significant change in circumstances to warrant a reduction. It certainly is to us since my husband is paying some months 65% of his gross earnings to the ex. This is unjust.

    I urge all to support alimony reform of outdated, unjust, and ultimately
    unfair alimony laws.

  • John Fromularo

    No. The time to do that was years ago. Why do we still have this law. End permanent alimony now and let people regain their life and end their former marriage. Isn’t that what divorce is supposed to do?

  • Ali Whiting

    It is well past time for indefinite alimony to end. Societal norms have changed and people need to take responsibility for their choices rather than expect someone to pay them for life. Currently, all that matters is who is making more money at the time of the divorce-as little as a $20,000 income differential and permanent alimony is awarded. It is punitive and modifications are both expensive and nearly impossible to get approved. The time for change is NOW.

  • NoMoreMarxistsInDC

    Lawyers like to tell the public that alimony started back 3800 years ago under Hammurabi’s Code. What the lawyers don’t tell the public is that women would be executed for adultery, divorcing their husbands, slandering their husbands in public, becoming prostitutes, stealing their husband’s money, etc. If we are going to have discourse on the issue of the history of alimony, we need to look at the totality of the circumstances and bring every issue from back then in to play today.

    So, if women want alimony, then they can’t file for divorce first, commit adultery, slander their husbands with false allegations, steal their husband’s money and assets, etc. Otherwise, they can be executed. But let’s not be that harsh: 10 years in prison would suffice.

  • William Heino Sr.

    State court violation DISABLED VETERANS


    Disabled veterans experience the same alimony problems as everybody else, however, are left out of any proposed state legislation at alimony reform. This is just another missed opportunity for disabled veteran’s to correct a wrong had the legislators given disabled veterans a second thought. Alimony reform, such are the dreams of disabled veterans. When was that suppose to happen?


    As had happened, any proposed alimony legislation is discriminatory which completely ignores alimony reform for disabled veterans. There are laws in place which favors, and protects the disabled veteran. However, actions by state court judges are not as unintentional when it involves veteran’s disability compensation. There are laws in place to protect veteran’s disability compensation, which are summarily dismissed by activist state court judges awarded as alimony, in violation of the many laws you find as you read on.



    Many State legislators due to the changing realities of family life, either proposed or passed legislation that ‘permanent current alimony’ obligations be eliminated. Legislation having broad appeal, proposed, and as happened, passed into law without thought or consideration of the disabled veteran wanting, under similar circumstances.


    To this day, there is no eagerness of state legislators to extend this, or any proposal to eliminate veterans disability compensation awards from alimony, despite the law, or any reform measures. The laws protecting disability compensation are very clear. What is needed is reform in the court system, and legislative re-thinking, that for whatever reason, that due process and property rights do not apply to disabled veterans? This is something disabled veterans’, despite all efforts at law, over many years have tried to accomplish. Passing alimony reform legislation without disabled veterans is just another insult. Brushed aside for more important things.


    The law is clear as to a veteran’s rights and a state court judge’s improper judicial authority in denying protections that are guaranteed.


    Disabled veteran’s have had the exact same alimony issue as everybody else. However, correcting clearly improper and illegal court rulings imposed on disabled veteran‘s is the issue, as much as it is any reform proposal.




    38 USC 5301 Nonassignability and exempt status of benefits. “Payments of benefits due or to become due under any law administered by the Secretary shall not be assignable except to the extent specifically authorized by law,.. a beneficiary shall be exempt from taxation, shall be exempt from the claim of creditors, and shall not be liable to attachment, levy or seizure by or under any legal or equitable process whatever, either before or after receipt by the beneficiary.


    “It is well established that disability benefits are a protected property interest and may not be discontinued without due process of law. See Atkins v. Parker, 472 U.S. 115, 128 (1985); Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 332 (1976)”


    “Due process”. How is it, that state court judges can arbitrarily and capriciously award as alimony, with the mere wave of a hand, waive away a portion of a veteran’s VA disability rated compensation? Moneys in the form of disability compensation, the disability rights of a veteran, whose disability rating that maybe determined and factored in as critical? Judgment as if all disabilities are exactly the same.


    State court judges, are in reality, playing doctor, without medical license or knowledge .. a practice forbidden, providing penalties by law , and border on medical negligence. All without any input, or approval from the Veterans Administration. Overstepping those whose authority it belongs, the dedicated VA medical professionals, in the practice of medicine, re-evaluation, and rehabilitation of the veteran. While at the same time violating federal law, 38 USC 5301, 42 USC 1408, and the 14th Amendment.


    Ninth Circuit Says Congress, Not Courts, Have Say Over VA Health Care



    Continually, State court judges disregard the law. As reduction in disability compensation cannot be “reduced unless an improvement in the veteran’s disability is shown to have occurred.” USC 1155 Authority for schedule for rating disabilities.


    How are judges allowed the discretion to award as alimony disability compensation based on ‘statutory’ awards? Which are not predicated directly on the average reduction in earning capacity, but primarily upon consideration of noneconomic factors such as personal inconvenience, social inadaptability, or the profound nature of the disability. The purpose of the statutory award for loss or loss of use of a creative organ is to account for psychological factors.


    “Clear and substantial” major damage to federal interests occurs when state court judges make lasting decisions, that seriously impact disabled veterans’ rated compensation and complicate Veterans Administration goals, and responsibilities. Upsetting, by overruling VA medical compensation decisions, which involve many hours of work that VA medical professionals have invested in the medical care, control, follow-up, and rehabilitation of disabled veterans. All this happens with VA complicity, when a state court, arbitrarily is allowed to take away a veterans VA disability compensation in third party alimony awards in violation of….. 38 USC 5301. 42 USC § 407 – Assignment of benefits, carries similar language.


    Where is it written, the VA authority, when a state judge can arbitrarily overrule the VA, the VA medical doctors and other medical professionals’ that determine a veterans’ medical rating compensation? His future now without the compensation that was by law assured? Tax payer monies mandated by Congress purposely, as veterans service compensation for injuries received, life altering as they are, now being diverted purposely by state courts to healthy third parties in many cases, in a determined and engaging violation of the law. To allow what has been happening, was it the intent of Congress that state court judges substitute their judgment for the judgment of VA doctors and medical professionals? I don’t think so!


    We trust you, that those that served you, you will honor our disabled veterans with supporting fair dealing and clarifying alimony legislation of the disabled veteran’s property rights.


  • Kathi Bender

    Stop the madness. Divorce is punishment enough. The courts hold no one at fault, so why do they make one pay and hold the other unaccountable for their own future. Ever.

    • Gizelle W.

      I agree. No one wants to take responsiblity for one’s self. Why should anyone be responsible for anyone else forever? Things change and people change. Nothing is forever.

  • Tom Leustek

    Scrap it. It is antiquated law and public policy.

  • Sean Carter

    it really can lead to some unfortunate circumstances. Thankfully during my divorce Marshall Davis Brown Jr was able to get me out of that tough situation with out the bitterness

  • Bill Freeman

    I was ordered to pay 1750 a month, plus 150,000, plus 150,000 life insurance policy with her as benefiary. Can’t do it, don’t have means. I have decided to fight back and let them, do what they wish with me, I’ll not pay, Freedom is not free, everyone’s situation is not like mine. I understand but til we fight back even if it means jail, we will never be free, let the taxpayers pay to keep me up, until they raise hell about this nothing will change, It’s a corrupt system,we all know this fight on brothers!

  • LeeKallett

    I post this to inform the public about the current antiquated alimony laws still in existence around the country. This is my alimony horror story. In the no fault divorce state of Florida, the ex had many adulterous affairs with other women (while pregnant with the second and last child) and including her incestuous relationship with her own 20 year old female cousin. In 2003 she formed Tampa Chaverot-Jewish Lesbians of Tampa Bay while we were still married. Then, she gets rewarded for all this and her changed sexual orientation with lifetime alimony in 2006 by the Hillsborough County Court (Tampa Case No: 05-DR-013627) and I get punished financially. How is this right and just? It certainly isn’t and the time to fix such an injustice is now. The duplicity continues and she blogs and writes as well as conducts her day to day life under an assumed last name, only using her legal last name on the driver’s license and to cash the hefty checks I write. If you are outraged about this avaricious hypocrite, please get involved to fight the unjust alimony laws around the country. There is no reason why a judge can’t order her to return to the workforce. She is a four year university graduate. The children are adults and no longer living in the home. There’s no reason why an able bodied, healthy, educated woman can’t be instructed by new law and guidelines to fully financially support herself. In a case similar to mine, a man paying lifetime alimony to his lesbian ex-wife had the alimony award overturned. A Minnesota court held that the “defendant’s post-decree lesbianism is a material change in circumstances which justifies the termination of alimony.” The case is Anonymous v Anonymous, 5 Fam.L Rptr. (BNA) 2127 (Minn.Dist.Ct.15 Nov 1978). Read the article here:
    This key point should be addressed in all proposed alimony reform legislation. Expanding the definition of “change in circumstances” beyond the financial to include a change in sexual orientation or gender will make the criteria more relevant to today.
    While the contemporary picture of marriage may be changing, here in Florida marriage remains between a man and a woman. Currently sexual reassignment surgeries are becoming more common place. Why should a spouse who believed they were marrying someone of the opposite sex, have to support that spouse who changes their gender or sexual orientation and redefines the marriage? The traditional marriage is broken through no fault of the other spouse. This is not like a couple who “fall out of love” or have grown tired of one another.
    Florida lawmakers should take into consideration this new reality and the changing landscape of marriage and reasons for divorce. Granting lifetime alimony to a spouse who changed sexual orientation or gender is absolutely an injustice. This needs to be stopped and such previous judgments overturned.
    Lifetime alimony affects the entire family and families are divided. Parental alienation occurs with the issue. The ex filed in the Circuit Court of the 13th Judicial Circuit, in and for Hillsborough County, FL Case No: 13-11991 Division G and on August 21, 2013 the judge ruled for Order of Dismissal of Temporary Injunction for Protection “The evidence presented is insufficient under Florida law”. The ex-wife attempted in her demand to muzzle our alimony reform efforts. She even had our 18 year old son testify against me. My daughter also advocated against reform by visiting the Governor’s office. She was interviewed by media as in this article. She provided a fake last name even though her legal last name is Kallett. http://miamiherald html
    Please support alimony reform. For more information and to join in advocating for guidelines and elimination of lifetime alimony please visit: florida alimony reform or family law reform• Elvina and Lee Kallett of St. Pete Beach, FL – Pays lifetime alimony to woman unable to remarry
    Lee Kallett of St. Pete Beach, FL – Pays $4K in permanent alimony to lesbian ex-wife This is Lee Kallett and Elvina Kallett. He pays permanent alimony to a woman who left the marriage because she chose to live a lesbian

  • Kristine

    SAD, DEVASTATING, PETTY, RAGING postings about alimony…

    The core issue, a direct quote from LeeKallett:

    “She is a four year university graduate. The children are adults and no
    longer living in the home. There’s no reason why an able bodied,
    healthy, educated woman can’t be instructed by new law and guidelines to
    fully financially support herself…”

    I know women who, yes, have college educations, and law degrees, and medical degrees, and doctorates, who WITH their husbands CHOSE to step back from those careers, that income, to take the “support” role, doing the primary care-taking for children, supporting husband’s career, creating social networks that created more success AND more opportunities for every one in the family. THEN, at age 60, or 65, a divorce. Judges actually telling a 60 year old woman: “NO ALIMONY! He supported you long enough!”

    Unbelievably contemptuous, degrading attitudes about women –

    The prime minister of France advocated and then achieved success with the French laws re: “maternity leave” by splitting the nearly one year long period between “mom” and “dad.” The change: “DAD” is now MANDATED BY LAW to take a 6 month “childcare” leave after the birth of his child. MANDATED!


    BECAUSE, the French economists realized, women were reaching senior years financially far behind men. As mothers, they were expected to take primary responsibility for the newborn child, and even in Europe with the legal REQUIREMENT that the ‘mom’ return to her position, she was missing time, missing promotions, falling behind in earning power – reaching “retirement” with far less pension security than men.


    Until men make real 50% responsibility to sustain the many commitments implied in many decisions the partnerships makes together, then NO WOMAN SHOULD EVER EVER EVER AGAIN STOP WORKING, TAKE MATERNITY LEAVE, HAVE CHILDREN, SUPPORT A HUSBAND’S CAREER…

    WOMEN MUST set up the financial accounts that will provide EQUAL FINANCIAL SECURITY, or do not have children – do not invest in “family,” NOR marriage.

    The contempt I hear in men’s voices is creepy to me.

    Unbelievable misogynist contempt for women. STOP! WAKE UP!