New Jersey Alimony Attorney
Resolving Alimony Issues in New Jersey
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a difficult issue in any divorce. When you are goingthrough a divorce, it is important for you to understand how alimony is determined in the State of New Jersey, especially given that the alimony statute was substantially revised in September 2014. Negotiating the proper amount of alimony in your divorce is crucial to your future financial stability, both for the recipient of alimony as well as the payor spouse.
The primary purpose of alimony in New Jersey is not to be a punishment, but is supposed to enable the supported spouse to continue to maintain the standard of living that the parties enjoyed during the marriage. The real difficulty lies in the fact that the statute affords both spouses the same entitlement to the marital standard of living. This is often next to impossible to achieve post-divorce given today’s economic climate.
There is no set formula for determining how much alimony a person will pay or receive. Instead, the Court will consider any agreement by the parties, the particular facts of the case, case law, and the statutory alimony factors under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b) as follows:
• The actual need and ability of the parties to pay.
• The duration of the marriage.
• The parties’ age, physical and emotional health.
• The standard of living established in the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living.
• The earning capabilities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties.
• The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance.
• The parental responsibilities for the children.
• The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income.
• The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities.
• The equitable distribution of property and payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair.
• The income available to either party through investment of any of any assets held by that party.
• The tax treatment and consequences to both of any alimony award including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment.
What Kind of Alimony Are You Entitled to Receive or Should Expect to Pay?
Depending on the facts of your specific case, alimony payments can be for a specific period of time, which is known as Limited Duration Alimony. For marriages lasting 20 years or more, it is likely that Open Durational Alimony (formerly known as permanent alimony) will be put in place. Even if you are married less than 20 years, you could still be entitled to Open Durational Alimony under what the statute states are “Exceptional Circumstances.”
The types of alimony available in New Jersey are:
Open durational alimony– This type of alimony was formerly known as permanent alimony and it is undergone substantial changes in the newly revised statute. Open Durational alimony is appropriate for long-term marriages, defined as 20 years or more in length. This type of alimony can be modified (reduced or terminated) upon a substantial change in circumstances.
Limited duration alimony– These types of payments are made for a specified number of months or years and cannot exceed the length of the marriage, except in unusual circumstances. In determining the length of the term, the court will consider the amount of time that it would reasonably take for the recipient to improve his or her earning capacity to a level where the supported spouse becomes self-supporting at the marital standard of living. Limited duration alimony may also be modified based either upon changed circumstances or the non-occurrence of certain events contemplated at the time of the divorce. The court may modify the amount of such an award, but shall not modify the length of the term except in unusual circumstances.
Rehabilitative alimony– This type of support is designed to allow the supported spouse time to reenter the workforce and gain the necessary skill set or education to do that. It is based upon a plan in which the payee shows the scope of rehabilitation, the steps to be taken, and the time frame, including a period of employment during which rehabilitation will occur. While this is a short-term award of spousal support, rehabilitative alimony can be paid to a spouse along with other types of alimony.
Reimbursement alimony - these types of alimony payments are made where one spouse contributed to the other’s education, career, or advancement. An award of reimbursement alimony may not be modified for any reason.
What is Pendente lite alimony? This is support paid to a spouse while the divorce is ongoing and it is subject to change and considered temporary. The goal of a pendente lite alimony award is based on need during the pendency of the divorce action. What is paid to a spouse in pendente lite alimony is not always reflective of what will be paid to the spouse after the divorce is final. In addition to pendente lite alimony, the supporting spouse may be ordered by the Court to also pay what is commonly referred to as “roof expenses” i.e. the mortgage on the marital home where the spouse and children usually live, as well as other expenses. Again, each case is different so it is important to know and understand your legal rights so that you can assert them early on in your divorce case.
We Help You To Strategize for Maximum Results
Our practice is dedicated exclusively to family and matrimonial law so you can count on us to present you with a sound strategy on your alimony issue, regardless of whether you expect to be paying or receiving alimony. We strive to meet your objectives by making sure you are a well-informed client.
Remember, alimony is but one factor in a divorce, however, next to child-related issues it can be highly contentious. To discuss your alimony issue with an experienced alimony lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Sylvia S. Costantino, Esq., LLC today.
Our firm represents clients in Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, Union, Middlesex and other counties throughout New Jersey.