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New laws could harm divorced women and their children

When spouses decide it's time to end their marriage, there are a number of issues to sort out. When it comes to property division, an inequality of means between the two parties can make things a little more difficult to figure out. A divorce and the legal rights of all parties involved should not be taken lightly, even if there is a prenup involved.

Cape May readers should be aware that bills under consideration in the New Jersey state legislature have been accused of failing to account for problems that can arise from property division and the possibility of post-divorce modifications. One bill would prevent judges from taking life-changing events, such as disease or injury, into account when reviewing prenuptial agreements during divorce proceedings.

Another bill seeks to hold judges to a strict series of rules and formulae when evaluating parties' financial positions. This bill would forbid judges to count numerous assets, including financial instruments such as stocks and bonds, as income when determining alimony payments. Furthermore, it would take away the right of an alimony recipient to request a post-divorce modification; this right would be reserved for the party paying alimony.

The bills under consideration could severely restrict the ability of dependent former spouses to maintain a standard of living for themselves and any children who remain in their custody. When families split up, the results can be difficult for everyone involved. However, mitigating the potential damage that can be imposed by a divorce requires that the interests of all parties be fairly represented. It is important for all parties to a divorce to know their rights under the law.

Source: NJ.com, "On divorce and alimony, NJ on wrong path for women," Patrick Judge Jr., Oct. 14, 2012.

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