Can I Get Alimony in My New Jersey Divorce?
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When spouses are going through divorce in New Jersey, they may wonder whether they may be able to receive alimony. Alimony is not awarded in every case. The party wanting alimony must specifically request it. The court can then consider if it is appropriate to award alimony in the specific case.
Factors Considered in Alimony Cases
If a court is tasked with the duty of deciding whether to award alimony, it considers a number of factors. It first considers whether alimony is actually necessary and whether the spouse has the financial means to pay it. The court also considers the duration of the union. Longer marriages are more likely to result in alimony than shorter marriages. The court can also consider the age and physical and mental health of the parties. It can also consider the earning capacities, job skills, work history, length of absence from the workforce and the standard of living of the parties.
The court can also consider the parental responsibilities of the children, the history of contributions throughout the marriage including the non-financial contributions that the spouses made during the marriage and contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of the recipient spouseís career in order to support the household or career of the other spouse. The court can also consider the tax consequences if alimony is awarded and whether any temporary alimony was paid. It also considers the property division between the parties and whether more property may provide a more equitable result than the requirement to pay alimony. The court can also consider how long and how much money it would take for the spouse to become employable, such as getting additional education or training. New Jersey also has a catchall provision that the court can consider any other relevant factor when determining whether or not to award alimony.
Types of Alimony in New Jersey
In addition to determining whether or not to award alimony and determining how much alimony to award, the court can also decide which type of alimony to award. The possibilities include:
Pendente Lite Alimony
This is a type of temporary alimony that may be ordered early in the divorce process so that the spouses can maintain the status quo while the divorce action is pending. It may take months or years for the divorce to conclude, so this type of alimony keeps things steady while the parties are waiting for the court process to unfold. Just because this type of alimony is awarded does not mean that another type of alimony will be ordered. It terminates automatically once a divorce is final.
Limited Duration Alimony
This type of alimony provides for payments for a specified period of time, according to the court order. For example, the alimony order may state that the paying spouse will need to make 24 monthly payments and then the obligation will cancel. This type of alimony is intended to help the recipient spouse become self-sufficient but limits the amount of time that the spouse can take to reach this goal. This type of alimony is often awarded in intermediate length marriages, such as ten to fifteen years.
Open Durational Alimony
This type of alimony does not establish an end date when the obligation to pay alimony will be raised. This type of alimony is usually only ordered in marriages that lasted 20 years or more. Traditionally, this type of alimony was reserved for cases where the recipient spouse was not expected to be able to become fully self-supporting. The obligation usually ends when the paying spouse reaches full retirement age.
Rehabilitative alimony is intended to help a spouse reintegrate into the workforce. Alimony may be paid while the recipient spouse attends college or a training program. This type of alimony usually has a specific time limit associated with it that is tied to the amount of time that it is expected for the spouse to become self-supporting. It may include the cost of education, training and living expenses while the spouse is trying to reintegrate into the workplace.
This type of alimony is intended to reimburse a spouse who has contributed to his or her husbandís education or career advancement. For example, a husband may have helped pay his wifeís college tuition.
Contact a Family Law Lawyer
A New Jersey family law lawyer can analyze the circumstances surrounding a divorce to determine if alimony may be available in a specific case.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.