Along with custody and parenting issues, alimony is often the hinge pin of most divorce cases. Disclosing income, assessing employment prospects, and determining how spouses will support themselves after the divorce are central to calculating alimony payments and determining what type of compensation, if any, applies.
As an alimony lawyer in Freehold, NJ, reaching a middle ground that addresses the means and needs of both parties is my job. My goal is to follow protocols and guide clients to a satisfactory resolution that conforms to their needs and New Jersey alimony laws. By working cooperatively with both parties, we can change the tone of the process, overcome challenges and achieve a satisfactory resolution.
What is Alimony?
Alimony is a form of financial support paid by one spouse for the other’s support and maintenance. Traditionally, the husband would be responsible for supporting his financially dependent ex-wife after divorce. However, alimony has evolved along with gender roles. Today, either a husband or wife may be responsible for paying alimony to his or her ex-spouse. In some cases, neither party is required to pay alimony if both the husband and wife work and have the means to support themselves with a lifestyle similar to the one they lived during the marriage.
Types of Alimony in New Jersey
New Jersey used to recognize four types of alimony: limited duration alimony, permanent alimony, rehabilitative alimony and reimbursement alimony, or a combination thereof. New Jersey, however, has eliminated permanent alimony, and replaced it with “open durational alimony.”
New Jersey alimony law provides that for any marriage that lasts less than 20 years, the total duration of alimony cannot last longer than the length of the marriage. New Jersey Courts now look to certain exceptional circumstances might change the duration of alimony.
Limited duration alimony is awarded for similar reasons and for the same purpose as permanent alimony. Usually due to a shorter term marriage, the length or “duration” of alimony is limited to a defined number of months or years.
Rehabilitative alimony provides compensation for education and career development. Rehabilitative alimony grants one spouse financial support to gain key job skills or to secure a degree so he or she can become self-supporting.
With reimbursement alimony, the person who completed additional education during the marriage is expected to repay the other spouse for their support.
Because the traditional divorce process is lengthy, New Jersey provides for temporary alimony (usually referred to as pendent lite alimony) to support one party during the proceedings in order to maintain the parties’ financial status quo. In some cases, one spouse is required to pay for the other’s attorney costs so both parties have adequate legal representation. If one party pays temporary alimony during the divorce proceedings, this is also taken into consideration when calculating how much and the duration of alimony after divorce.
Determining alimony is a complex process that considers many factors ranging from the length of the marriage to the couple’s age and earning abilities. Income is just one consideration. Alimony is not calculated to guidelines, so no prediction is ever guaranteed. Instead, the parties must review a number of factors under New Jersey law.
Being fair is one of the important requirements in all aspects of determining alimony. One spouse cannot be left without support while the other maintains a high standard of living. By the same token, one spouse shouldn’t be enriched by excessive support while the other struggles to pay. New Jersey alimony laws take this into consideration by considering the standard of living established during a marriage, and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living.
Law Office of Andrew R. Fischer
As your Monmouth county family lawyer or mediator, we will work together to create an individualized agreement that accomplishes your support needs in an equitable manner. Contact the Law Office of Andrew R. Fischer to discuss your alimony case today. I’m pleased to offer complimentary consultations to couples and individuals throughout central New Jersey.