Interviewer: In your experience, is the divorce law fair to both parties in New York and New Jersey?
Is It Better to Have Both Parties Agree to a Settlement? Judges in New York and New Jersey Have Discretion in Awarding Assets
Tanya: The best outcomes are those cases where people can resolve the issues themselves, either with mediation, collaborative law, or some level of negotiation. When you send a case to a judge the judge has a very wide discretion. You can take one set of facts and present it to four different judges in one courthouse, and you can absolutely end up with four different decisions.
So is that fair? I don’t know if that’s fair or not, but it makes the scenario much less predictable. They’re statutory rules that the judges have to follow and if the judge’s decision is based on the statue then it’s fair. When the parties settle their case, they have more control over the outcome.
New Jersey’s Statute on Alimony
We have permanent alimony in New Jersey for certain circumstances; and unfortunately, the cases that I see that drag out the longest and are the most troublesome are those where the payee spouse, the one that is receiving the money, a) doesn’t want to get a job, b) wants alimony for a permanent term, and asks for an unreasonable amount. These cases are very difficult to resolve.