Throughout the duration of a marriage, life circumstances can leave spouses in a position of unequal finances. This can cause one spouse to be financially dependent on the other. When they find themselves in situations of divorce, it often results in the court-ordered alimony. These are payments that the independent spouse makes to the dependent spouse in order to provide them with stability. If you are seeking alimony in a divorce case, contact an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for assistance.
What Replaced Permanent Alimony?
Previously, permanent alimony was available to spouses going through a divorce in New Jersey. This allowed support to be made from one former spouse to the other for a lifetime. However, this was amended by New Jersey’s former Governor in 2014. Instead, permanent alimony has since been replaced with open duration alimony. This is in place for couples who were married or in a civil union for more than 20 years. With open duration alimony, there is no end date to payments unless there is a reason to terminate. This may be the result of cohabitation, remarriage, if the paying spouse becomes disabled or unemployed, or if the dependent spouse becomes independent.
Other Types of Alimony
Not all marriages are the same. It is because of this that there are different types of alimony that may be ordered for a divorcing couple. This can vary depending on their specific situation. The types of alimony available in New Jersey are as follows:
- Limited Duration Alimony: This is ordered in situations where couples were married or in a civil union for less than 20 years. These payments should not be made longer than the duration of the marriage/union. They may be terminated if there is a change in either spouse’s finances.
- Rehabilitative alimony: When a spouse holds off their career to support their family, this type of alimony allows the dependent spouse to receive the education or training they need to get back to work.
- Reimbursement alimony: If a spouse financially supported their partner’s education or training, this type of alimony reimburses them.
How is Alimony Determined?
As alimony is a sensitive subject during divorces, it is the court’s decision whether or not it is necessary and the amount that is ordered. In order to make these decisions, the court considers the following:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- The needs of the dependent spouse
- The independent spouse’s ability to support the dependent spouse
- If the dependent party had a significant absence from the job market
- Equitable distribution of property
- Each spouse’s responsibility for any children they have
- The standard of living the couple established during their marriage
- If there is any income available from investments
- If there are any tax implications from spousal support payments
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