Ari Schochet, a New Jersey man sent to jail for missing alimony payments, was ordered by a judge to remain confined in a county work-release program.
Schochet, featured in an Aug. 26 Bloomberg story on proposals to change New Jersey’s alimony laws, must spend his nights and weekends locked inside a county jail unless he pays a lump sum of $25,000 toward more than $233,000 in arrears, New Jersey Family Court Judge Ronny Jo Siegel ruled today after a hearing in Bergen County Jail in Hackensack.
Schochet, who once worked as a portfolio manager at Wall Street firms, has been jailed for missing court-ordered payments at least eight times in the past two years after the end of his 17-year marriage. Job losses and a weak economy caused him to run through his savings trying to pay his ex-wife alimony and child support that totaled almost $100,000 a year.
“Mr. Schochet is attempting to put things back together,” Benjamin Kelsen, a lawyer representing Schochet pro bono, said during the hearing. “This is not a case of someone who doesn’t want to pay but rather somebody who doesn’t have the ability to pay.”
Siegel rejected Kelsen’s request for Schochet to be released from the program pending a 30-day review.