Alimony (Spousal Support)
Experienced Attorneys Handling
New Jersey Spousal-Support Matters
Spousal support, or alimony, is money paid to a spouse or former spouse while a divorce is in process or after a final divorce order has been issued. It serves to ensure that the needs of the spouse with fewer financial recourses are met and that both spouses can maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed during their marriage or as close to that lifestyle as possible.
In September 2014 the Alimony Reform Bill brought about some changes in alimony and spousal support. The following summarizes the main changes:
- Permanent alimony was eliminated.
- In marriages of less than 20 years, the length of spousal support cannot exceed the length of the marriage; however the court can make exceptions.
- If the payer files to change the amount of alimony, the burden of proof is on the recipient to show why the change should not be made.
- Alimony is presumed to end upon retirement unless the recipient can show why it should not end.
Types of Alimony in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law there are several different forms of alimony:
- Pendente lite alimony
- Open durational alimony
- Limited durational alimony
- Rehabilitative alimony
- Reimbursement alimony
Often a combination of these types of alimony is granted.
Pendente lite alimony—This is a form of temporary alimony in New Jersey. It is granted during the divorce process and is intended to help the spouse keep up with expenses during the proceedings. Once the divorce is final, pendente lite alimony may or may not be replaced by one of the other forms of alimony.
Open durational alimony—Open durational alimony replaced “permanent alimony” after the Alimony Reform Bill of 2014. Unlike permanent alimony, open durational alimony can only be granted for a marriage that lasted twenty years or more. Also different from permanent alimony, open durational alimony is presumed to end upon retirement unless the recipient can convince the Court that payments should continue.
Limited durational alimony—Also known as durational alimony or term alimony, this type specifies an ending date. Although the court can extend it, since 2014 limited durational alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage,
Rehabilitation alimony—This form of alimony is awarded to help a spouse become self-sufficient. For example, it may provide for educational or training expenses as part of the spousal support.
Reimbursement alimony—As the name implies, reimbursement alimony reimburses a spouse for contributions to the other spouse’s education or training. It is more commonly awarded in marriages that did not last long enough for the spouse who made the contributions to take advantage of the financial benefits that resulted from that education or training; those benefits would have been expected at the time the funds were given.
Factors in Determining the Amount and Duration of Alimony
New Jersey courts take several factors into consideration when determining the amount and duration of alimony:
- Duration of the marriage
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Requirements to maintain the standard of living
- Physical and emotional health of each party
- Earning potential of each spouse
- Length of time out of the work force
- Each party’s contributions to the marriage
- How payments would affect the payee’s standard of living
- Parental responsibilities
- Tax consequences
- Any other factor deemed relevant by the Court
Effects of Alimony on Taxation
Spousal support has a different effect upon the payee and the recipient:
- Spousal support is taxable income for the spouse who receives it.
- It is tax deductible for the spouse who makes the payments.
Civil Unions and Alimony
In New Jersey, partners in a civil union may also be awarded alimony when the civil union is dissolved.
Contact Us 24/7
Spousal support can have a lasting impact on your life after your divorce becomes final. The respected family-law attorneys at Aretsky Law Group, P.C., will analyze your case and determine which, if any, type of alimony the Court is likely to grant to either spouse. We will work closely with you to help you understand your situation and to develop legal strategies to obtain spousal-support arrangements that meet your needs and best protect your interests.
If you have questions about spousal support or other divorce or family law matters, call us 24/7 at 800-537-4154 to schedule a free initial consultation.