Alimony in New Jersey
There are four types of alimony in New Jersey, which follow similar arrangements in other states. All of these arrangements are at the consideration of the court and the factors the court uses during this consideration vary widely. Punitive alimony is increasingly rare and limited duration or specific alimony is now awarded for reimbursement, rehabilitation or to provide security until the other spouse becomes financially independent. Contact New Jersey lawyers for legal advice and assistance.
How is alimony in New Jersey calculated?
There is no formula to calculate alimony in New Jersey, but you will be able to have a reasonable expectation of what you will pay due to precedents set by courts when awarding alimony. The two biggest factors in determining alimony are the standard of living of both spouses and their potential income. For both instances, the point of alimony is to ensure the divorce settlement is fair and equitable. The alimony is used to equalize the settlement, usually as limited duration alimony.
Limited duration alimony is also used to support spouses that are working toward but not yet financial independent. Marriages that consist of the spouse being heavily dependent on the income of the other spouse, will require alimony to ensure their independence from public benefits. There may be additional conditions attached to the limited duration alimony, but generally, the date of expiration is the most notable one.
Limited duration alimony is also used at the start of a divorce case, to ensure that the spouse that is financially dependent is taken care of until the divorce is finalized. This is established after the initial divorce hearing. The presence of this alimony, while not a guarantee of future alimony, is an admission by the court that the spouse is disadvantaged financially by having a divorce proceeds in the marriage.
Reimbursement alimony is related to the limited duration alimony in that the reimbursement is ordered for substantial expenses for education and other relevant investments by one spouse into the other. The courts will order this when they feel the contribution of that spouse to the other spouse’s potential income is substantial enough to warrant some compensation.
Relationship of child support and alimony in New Jersey
Child support is not a factor in determining alimony and this is a separate arrangement. Contributions toward childcare and education may be considered if they are substantial enough to be considered “support.” This is a grey area of alimony determinations. Both child support and alimony can be paid through wage garnishment and enforcement actions will be taken against those that neglect both obligations.
There are a number of ways to have alimony terminated, usually by proving that the spouse is indeed financially capable or is drawing support through cohabitation with another individual in a marriage-like relationship. You should speak with an attorney before filing a motion to have an alimony order reviewed. This will prevent frivolous filings and other complications.