Unlike child support, alimony is not guaranteed in New Jersey

One of the most contentious areas in a divorce is one in which the law is discretionary. In New Jersey, there is no specific formula to determine an alimony award or obligation. New Jersey spousal support is decided on a case-by-case basis and can lead to frustration — or worse.

As family law attorneys, we know that each family faces its own set of financial issues and that alimony is a significant financial consequence for our clients. At The Law Offices of Smith & Doran, P.C., in Morristown, New Jersey, we represent clients and help develop a solid strategy regarding spousal support. Our approach is to be compassionate but also vigorous when it comes to protecting your interests.

New Jersey alimony law and guidelines

There are different types of alimony, which is called "spousal support" in New Jersey:

  • Pendente Lite: Courts award pendente lite spousal support, also known as temporary alimony, during the divorce process in an effort to maintain each spouse in the same financial position that existed prior to divorce. There is little or no emphasis on the spousal support factors as the court is attempting to maintain the status quo of the parties during the pendency of the divorce action.
  • Permanent: Permanent spousal support is the most traditional form of alimony. It is typically awarded only after a long-term marriage and is typically awarded when one spouse is unable to maintain the standard of living to which he or she has become accustomed during the marriage and that spouse lacks the ability to become self-supporting.
  • Limited duration: This type of spousal support award is provided for a specified number of months or years and is typically awarded when the spouse receiving support will be able to eventfully attain a comparable marital standard of living on his or her own. In general, courts order limited-duration alimony if application of the statutory factor justifies an alimony award, but the marriage was too brief for an award of permanent alimony.
  • Rehabilitative: This type of alimony has the purpose of assisting a spouse who needs financial support to reintegrate into the workforce. This is similar to limited-duration support, but includes a plan to enable the supported spouse to become financially self-sufficient, which usually means that the supported spouse will get the education, vocational or technical training he or she needs to earn an income that will allow them to attain a reasonably comparable marital standard of living.
  • Reimbursement: This type of alimony reimburses one spouse for financial contribution to the education or career advancement of the other spouse. Reimbursement spousal support can be combined with other types of support and is typically awarded when the marital standard of living was relatively low while the supported spouse was attending school. The spouse who contributed financially to the education or training from which both spouses were expected to benefit in the future is entitled to repayment of those contributions. Reimbursement support can include tuition and cost-of-living support extended by a student spouse as well as any other costs related to obtaining a degree or training.

The New Jersey courts consider a number of factors when deciding if, how long and how much alimony is awarded. New Jersey courts determine spousal support by considering several factors, including:

  • The financial needs of each spouse
  • The ability of each spouse to pay support
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The marital standard of living
  • The earning capacity, education, vocational skills and likelihood of employment of each spouse
  • How long the spouse seeking support was out of the job market
  • The time and costs associated with getting the education or training needed to find employment, as well as the availability of training and employment
  • The contributions made by each spouse during their marriage
  • Tax consequences

Call us with your questions about spousal support

We can help you sort through the issues surrounding alimony, or spousal support. To learn more, we invite you to contact us online or call us at 973-532-2661 to schedule a time to discuss your case with one of our experienced lawyers.

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