As I wrote about previously, the bill in the New Jersey Legislature restricting inheritance and matrimonial matters where a serious crime has been committed was signed into law by Governor Corzine last week.  Among the provisions of the new law:

  • Prohibits courts from ordering retainer or counsel fees of a convicted attempted murderer or conspirator be paid by the intended victim of that crime.
  • No person convicted of murder, manslaughter, criminal homicide, or aggravated assault could receive alimony if the crime results in death or serious bodily injury to a family member of a divorcing party, and the crime was committed after the marriage or civil union.
  • A person convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to commit murder could not receive alimony from the person who was the intended victim or be awarded equitable distribution.  The bill defines “family member” as “a spouse, child, parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, first cousin, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepparent, stepchild, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister, whether the individual is related by blood, marriage, or adoption.”
  • A parent of a decedent would lose all right to intestate succession and all right to administer the estate if:
    1. The parent refused to acknowledge the decedent or abandoned the decedent when the decedent was a minor by willfully forsaking the decedent, failing to care for and keep the control and custody of the decedent so that the decedent was exposed to physical or moral risk without proper and sufficient protection, or failing to care for and keep the control and custody of the decedent so that the decedent was in the care, custody and control of the State at the time of death;
    2. The parent was convicted of committing any of the following crimes against the decedent:  (a) sexual assault; (b) criminal sexual contact;(c) endangering welfare of children;
    3. The parent was convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to murder the decedent; or
    4. The parent abused or neglected the decedent and the abuse or neglect contributed to the decedent’s death.

Amazingly, none of these were illegal despite the fact that this conduct should shock the conscience.