Governor Christie signs 2 major laws changing family law in NJ

by Bruce Matez, Esq.

Governor Christie signed into law two important bills that were sent to him by the NJ Legislature which have a significant impact on the practice of family law in the State of NJ.

1.  The alimony reform bill  changes “permanent” alimony, limits alimony in marriages under 20 years (unless there are exceptional circumstances), codifies modification of alimony upon retirement, and more clearly defines how alimony may be terminated or modified pursuant to changes in circumstances. Under the new law, there will be a rebuttable presumption of limited duration alimony for all marriages of 20 years or less.  Marriage is defined as the date of the marriage until the date that one of the parties files a complaint for divorce with the court. This is the first major change in NJs family laws in several decades.

2.  The Collaborative Divorce Act legitimizes and formalizes the use of the Collaborative process in divorce. Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to the traditional lawyer/litigation model of divorce, which has been the norm in our country for decades.  It is a process that has been utilized in many states, including New Jersey, for about 25 years and is gaining national attention and acclaim.  Collaborative Divorce can be a less costly, non-adversarial and more civilized approach to divorce and can help couples preserve a better relationship, which benefits them, their children (adult and under the age of 18), extended family, friends.  For more information about Collaborative Divorce, visit