In 1991, New Jersey passed the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, meant to correct former legislative weaknesses regarding the protections afforded to abused partners.

The Prevent of Domestic Violence Act covers many topics important in domestic violence situations. For example, helps victims of domestic violence acquire restraining orders as well as financial support from the subject of said restraining order. These amendments exist to recognize that domestic violence plaintiffs are entitled to protection from the abuse they have suffered.

In a similar, the Act also addresses financial protections afforded to abuse victims via systems like alimony. This blog post will explain how this legislation interacts with current legal norms. Should you yourself be living through domestic violence, do not hesitate to call a Sussex County domestic violence attorney soon.

How Does the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act Influence the Divorce Process?

When a divorce is in process, the family court will examine each partner’s income, expenses, and life circumstances. Usually, in deciding whether to order alimony, the judge will consider many factors, like the various needs of the partner requesting it, the other partner’s ability to pay it, and tax consequences on both.

One of the factors the judge may consider is the earlier necessity of a restraining order. If, for instance, a restraining order has been issued, the court may on the same basis order support for the abused partner and any children they might have.

Alimony is typically ordered for half as long as the marriage lasted, if the marriage was in effect for a decade or less. Past that point, the judges have a degree of discretion in deciding how long alimony should continue.

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act is silent about whether domestic abusers may receive alimony from their victims. In the past, members of the New Jersey legislature had unsuccessfully attempted to pass Assembly Bill A399 to make it crystal clear that someone accused and convicted of domestic violence could not request alimony. (Even this is no sure protection, considering the historic difficulties in getting a guilty verdict when suing your abuser.) Later amendments in 2014 would codify similar proscriptions.

As things stand currently, New Jersey judges have a notable degree of discretion in domestic violence cases. Statutory law at present allows the court to decide whether a former spouse should be barred from alimony because of their previous abusive actions.