The system has created extreme hardships, said Tom Leustek, president and co-founder of New Jersey Alimony Reform.
collecting "horror" stories to share with lawmakers here.
For example: A computer analyst lost his
job at 65 and spent down retirement assets on legal bills trying to eliminate, to no avail, a permanent $3,000-a-month alimony.
Alimony laws in many states were passed to aid lower-earning spouses, a tradeoff when careers were sacrificed for families.
But some of the ground rules were established decades ago.
group incorporated as a not-for-profit in August and membership is expected to reach 1,000 by year's end.
"Now there's some hope for people being treated unfairly.
Massachusetts is the game-changer," said Leustek, a Rutgers University professor of molecular biology.
"It is becoming a growing movement to make alimony fairer and more equitable in the states where changes are needed."
The new Massachusetts law allows for many of those paying alimony to stop upon retirement and otherwise sets term limits, with alimony payments required for at least half of the length of a marriage.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, 97 percent of those receiving alimony payments are women, but Leustek
said the changes are "gender-neutral."
"We're interested in what's fair," he
"We have women who are members."
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said New Jersey statutes "are extremely vague on alimony, so it's left up to judges to decide just about every aspect."
group isn't advocating changes in child support.