Spousal Support in New Jersey

What Types of Alimony Are Available? How Does the Court Determine Spousal Support?

Spousal Support in New JerseyAlimony…it seems like an archaic term, something that’s gone by the wayside as women have become fully integrated into the workplace. Do the courts in New Jersey still grant alimony/spousal support awards? If so, how do the courts determine both eligibility for alimony and the appropriate amount/duration of payments? Are there different types of alimony a court can award?

Alimony—Still Alive and Well in New Jersey

Though the frequency with which alimony awards are granted has diminished, and though the types of awards given tend to be different, parties to a divorce still have a right in New Jersey to ask the court for spousal support. The court may, at its discretion, order either party to a divorce to pay alimony to the other party, based on a wide range of factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage—Though there is no minimum requirement, the longer parties have been married, the greater the chances of securing alimony
  • The health and age of both parties—For recipients, older age and poorer health weigh in favor of support. For payors, the opposite is true.
  • The potential earning capacities of the parties
  • The standard of living to which the parties were accustomed during the marriage
  • The actual needs of the recipient, in comparison with the ability of the other party to pay
  • Whether or not the parties played a significant role in parenting during the marriage
  • Whether or not the recipient owns any income-producing property
  • The outcome of the property settlement in the marriage

The Different Types of Spousal Support

Though the courts have the discretion to grant an alimony award with an open duration, it’s becoming more common for spousal support to have a limited duration. A recipient whose age or infirmity makes it difficult or impossible to become self-sufficient may receive alimony permanently, but most alimony awards are:

  • Temporary—Established for a set period of time…usually a period of years
  • Rehabilitative—Put in place until the recipient is able to be self-sufficient, through training, education or career advancement

The Termination of Alimony

Alimony can be terminated or reduced by various events, such as

  • The remarriage of the recipient
  • Cohabitation by the recipient with a partner in an intimate relationship
  • The retirement of the payor

Accordingly, it is critical to properly and tightly draft any alimony provision in the divorce decree.

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Understanding Alimony in New Jersey—An Introduction

Understanding Alimony in New Jersey—An IntroductionA spouse in New Jersey (male or female) still has a right to seek spousal support (alimony) during and after a divorce. In the Garden State, spousal support typically is determined on a case-by-case basis, with the court looking at the following factors:

  • How long the parties have been married
  • The age and physical health of the parties at the time of the divorce
  • The needs of the receiving party and ability of the other party to pay
  • The extent to which each spouse is actively involved with child-rearing
  • The standard of living to which the parties were accustomed during the marriage
  • The respective earning capacities of both parties, as well as educational levels, job training, and skills that may affect earning capacity
  • The length of time the recipient has been out of the job market
  • The length of time it would take the recipient to acquire education or training to become self-supporting
  • How property was allocated in the divorce decree
  • Ownership by either party of income-producing assets
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant

The Different Types of Alimony

There are five different types of spousal support in New Jersey:

  • Alimony pendent lite—This is an award that is only payable while a divorce is in process—essentially a temporary form of spousal support.
  • Limited duration alimony—In many cases, the court will award alimony for a specified time to allow the receiving spouse time to become self-supporting – the term generally cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
  • Rehabilitative alimony—Similar to limited duration alimony, this award typically lasts until the receiving spouse completes job training or other requirements to become self-sufficient.
  • Reimbursement alimony—This award represents reimbursement for sacrifices one spouse made to benefit the other, such as working to support the family while the other spouse obtained an advanced degree.
  • Open duration alimony—This is an award without an identified termination date. It may be for the rest of the person’s life, or it may be ended by the court at its discretion.

Modification of Alimony

Once alimony is awarded, it can be subsequently terminated or reduced if a substantial change in circumstances is proven, e.g., remarriage, cohabitation, loss of job, retirement, severe health problems, or significant change in income of either party.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Family Law Attorney

At the law office of David M. Lipshutz, we won’t take your case unless we know we can help.For aprivate meeting, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 AM and 5 PM.

What You Need to Know about Alimony in New Jersey

Understanding Your Rights and Obligations Regarding Spousal Support

What You Need to Know about Alimony in New JerseyThough it’s nowhere near as common as it used to be, alimony (also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support) is still available in New Jersey. Under current law, it’s based strictly on need and is gender neutral. A divorcing husband has just as much right to alimony as a wife. The courts will work hard to ensure that alimony is not used as a weapon, but strive to use it to strike a balance, allowing both parties to be as close as possible to the lifestyle they had during the marriage. The ultimate goal, in most situations, is to provide the necessary support to allow the recipient to take the necessary steps to become self-sufficient.

It’s important right up front to understand that New Jersey law is less than clear on how to address alimony, giving a fair amount of discretion to judges. It is also important to note that the recent tax law changes eliminate the deduction of spousal support payments and no longer require recipients to claim alimony as taxable income. Further complicating matters, New Jersey tax law allows for the deduction of spousal maintenance on state returns and requires recipients to report payments as income.

Unlike child support, where the court simply takes the income of both parties and plugs it into a formula, there is no similar calculation method for alimony. The court may consider a wide range of factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The actual need and ability of the parties to pay
  • The standard of living to which the parties were accustomed during marriage
  • The age, physical and emotional health of the parties
  • The potential earning capacities of both parties
  • Any parental responsibilities of either party
  • The extent to which either party gave up a career to care for children or to further the career of the other party

Contact Attorney David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.