How Much Alimony Will I Get in NJ?
One of the most frequently asked question I get during consultations is “how much alimony will I get in NJ?” Like many aspects of family law, there’s never an easy answer. That’s because each case is so unique that it would be near impossible to have one rule that would work for every alimony case in New Jersey. I’m constantly amazed at how different each and every case truly is.
How Is Alimony Decided in New Jersey?
Rather than focusing on “how much alimony will I get in NJ?”, instead it helps to understand how alimony is decided. If you mediate or negotiate your case, you and your spouse will decide. You will work together (hopefully) with your attorneys or mediator to see what makes sense for your particular situation. You will decide whether alimony is appropriate, how much, and for how long. There are many options you can agree to in terms of how alimony is paid, like one spouse “buying out” the other by giving an asset away instead of paying alimony.
If you decide to litigate your divorce case (meaning taking your case to court for a trial), a judge will decide whether there should be alimony, how much, and for how long. A judge must use New Jersey’s alimony statute and look to previously decided cases (called precedent, or case law) to make his or her decision. Judges have much less authority to be creative in how alimony is paid because Judges must follow the law, they have no choice. If you agree on alimony privately, you can provide for things that would not otherwise be available to a judge. But even during amicable divorces, you should look to NJ alimony law for guidance..
New Jersey’s Alimony Statute
The New Jersey alimony statute provides for four types of alimony including open duration, limited duration, rehabilitative, and reimbursement. Whether one party should pay or receive alimony, and how much alimony should be paid, is decided by analyzing these thirteen factors:
(1) The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;
(2) The duration of the marriage or civil union;
(3) The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
(4) The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living;
(5) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;
(6) The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
(7) The parental responsibilities for the children;
(8) The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
(9) The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;
(10) The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;
(11) The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;
(12) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment; and
(13) Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.
Consult With Professionals
Alimony law is complicated and these factors can get confusing. For example, a case that involves self-employment can make it difficult to ascertain a person’s income – especially if it’s a cash business. A person can be considered underemployed, so an income must be imputed to that person. Sometimes people become disabled before or during a divorce, and do not earn anything near what they did during the divorce.
In all cases, especially complicated ones, the most important thing to do is hire a family law professional to walk you through the entire process. You should work with trusted attorneys, accountants, and financial advisers who have your long term interests in mind. Spending money on professionals now may end up saving you a fortune in the long run.
Instead of wondering “how much alimony will I get in NJ?,” make the decision to meet with a professional. I’m always happy to meet with potential clients for a free consultation. Contact Andrew R. Fischer : Family Lawyer today to set up your appointment and discuss your potential alimony case.