Divorce Lawyers Launch a Campaign of Misinformation About Alimony Reform

Divorce Lawyers Launch a Campaign of Misinformation About Alimony Reform Bills S2750/A3909

On December 15th the Senate Judiciary Committee was to vote on alimony reform bill S2750. Members of several different divorce lawyer groups were there walking the halls of the Statehouse.  Just before the hearing began word was spread that they had succeeded in convincing a key legislator to withdraw the bill for a vote. The divorce lawyers dodged a bullet because if S2750 was voted on it would have passed and would then have moved to the full senate for a vote.

How did this happen? What were the divorce lawyers telling legislators? We don’t know for sure, but a clue may be the single page handout that they were distributing entitled:  “Just the Facts: Why A-4525 -- not S-2750/A3909 -- is the right approach to alimony reform” ( Click Here to View their JUST THE FACTS DOCUMENT )

What is amply clear about this handout is its focus on misleading readers and shows the extreme tactics used by divorce lawyers to put doubt into the minds of legislators.

New Jersey Alimony Reform and New Jersey Women for Alimony Reform cannot let this stand, so we have prepared a rebuttal entitled: “The Facts That the BAR Conveniently Omitted.” ( Click Here to View the NJAR Rebuttal )

We will be distributing our rebuttal to all legislators. We are sharing this information with our members and the public to show just how committed and intent certain divorce lawyers are on squashing real alimony reform in New Jersey by spreading misinformation.

The fact that these divorce lawyers have written their own alimony reform bill A4525, and have found two sponsors for their alternative bill, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt and Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, is a great indication that they have finally admitted that there are problems with NJ alimony laws.

It is with great concern that we now are forced to point out the tactic chosen by these divorce lawyers to undermine support of our alimony reform bills S2750/A3909. Instead of focusing responsibly on the reasons for their opposition to S2750/A3909, they have instead decided to smoke-screen by distributing misleading and erroneous information. Their disingenuous behavior causes us to wonder what their true motivation was in proposing a “fig leaf reform" bill.

We also must take this opportunity to reiterate that the New Jersey divorce lawyers are out of step with their national organization, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, who have recommended that states legislators adopt guidelines just as have been proposed in S2750/A3909. (See http://njalimonyreform.org/wp-content/uploads/Highlighted_AAML_Report.pdf ) . As recently as December 2, the President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Maria Cognetti, said, "When you don't have guidelines, you are kind of at the mercy of who is your judge and what is their personal take on alimony." ( see http://articles.philly.com/2013-12-02/news/44622767_1_alimony-payments-permanent-alimony-awards-set-alimony ).

Also, the divorce lawyers’ commitment to block real alimony reform smacks of tyrannical paternalism. The wishes of the vast majority of New Jersey citizens were clearly reported in a recent Eagleton Center Poll (see http://njalimonyreform.org/wp-content/uploads/FINAL-NJAR_NJWAR_Alimony_Report_10-8-13.pdf ). Eighty percent favor the elimination or restriction of permanent alimony. Two thirds favor defining alimony as temporary support. And only 8% think the marital lifestyle is an appropriate measure for calculating alimony. Given these landslide results in favor or real alimony reform the divorce lawyer lobby is fighting the wishes of New Jersey citizens. The question of the day is will New Jersey legislators carry out the will of New Jersey citizens or will they succumb to the misinformation being spread by the divorce lawyer lobby?

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