What is Alimony/Spousal Support?
In a divorce, one highly contested area of concern is a potential obligation you may have to pay or receive spousal support. At Zemsky Family Law, we know that this could be a hot-button issue – whether you will be paying it or receiving it, what the amount will be, and how long it will last. Every New Jersey alimony attorney at our firm is well versed in the statute and relevant case law and is poised to guide you through the process.
Types of Alimony in New Jersey
The purpose of alimony is to allow both spouses to maintain a lifestyle comparable to the one enjoyed during the marriage. There are four different forms of alimony in New Jersey:
- Open Durational – alimony paid in perpetuity, typically occurring in marriages of 20 years or longer
- Limited Duration – alimony paid for a specific term of years, lasting no longer than the length of a marriage lasting less than 20 years
- Reimbursement – alimony paid to the supported spouse in acknowledgment of contributions made to the higher-earning spouse’s education or career that allowed the supporting spouse to be in a financially superior position
- Rehabilitative – alimony paid to the supported spouse to gain skills or education that will allow them to be financially independent
A New Jersey alimony attorney from ZFL can help you determine what type of alimony fits your case and needs.
Determining New Jersey Alimony
Unlike child support, there is no formula for determining alimony in New Jersey. Instead, the court must consider the following statutory factors:
- The actual need and ability of the parties to pay
- The duration of the marriage or civil union
- The age, physical and emotional health of the parties
- 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, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other
- The earning capacities, 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, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income
- 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
- 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
- The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party
- 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
- The nature, amount, and length of interim support paid if any
- Any other factors which the court may deem relevant
At Zemsky Family Law, we are not only experienced with establishing support obligations, but we are equipped to address emergency support situations (in the event a domestic violence hearing is necessary). We will support pending the litigation (also known as pendente lite support) and applications that may be necessary after the divorce, such as an application seeking to modify or terminate an alimony obligation based upon a change of circumstances.
Alimony is complicated. A seasoned New Jersey alimony attorney at our firm will address and determine what type of spousal support is relevant to your matter and will walk you through the statutory factors to determine an appropriate support obligation. While this is not an exact science, we take an individualized approach to each client’s needs, financial circumstances, lifestyle and analyze all other relevant factors to craft creative solutions.
Termination & Modification of Alimony
Alimony terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient. Unless the parties agree otherwise, alimony can be modified if the party seeking the modification can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances since the alimony determination was set. Some examples of changes in circumstances include a significant and involuntarily decrease in earning ability, a serious medical condition, and retirement.
At Zemsky Family Law, we do not just tell you what you want to hear. Our attorneys will be straightforward about your chances to obtain or defend against a modification of alimony and have extensive experience navigating such challenges.
Consult with an Experienced New Jersey Alimony Attorney
A New Jersey alimony attorney at Zemsky Family Law can help you understand your spousal support rights and obligations. We develop strategies in securing alimony or help relieve you from unfair demands. Contact us today for assistance in securing your future.