Divorce can be freeing, but it can also bring with it a number of unsettling changes. One of the most common concerns people have when facing a divorce is how they'll be able to make ends meet when they're single again. This can be particularly worrisome for people in lengthy marriages who made significantly less money than their soon-to-be ex-spouse, as well as those who stayed home to manage the household while their husband or wife pursued a career. Fortunately, New Jersey's alimony laws help protect people who find themselves in this distressing position.
Also known as spousal support, alimony is a payment that one spouse makes to the other to help them maintain the marital standard of living before or after separation or divorce. Spousal support is often one of the thorniest parts of the entire divorce process, which can make it difficult for spouses to reach an equitable agreement. However, if they can't, a judge will do it for them.
Concerned about how you'll support yourself financially during a separation, divorce, and beyond? Our skilled spousal support attorneys in Flemington, NJ can help you fight for fair spousal support. Here's what you should know about alimony in New Jersey divorces.
Types of Alimony or Spousal Support
New Jersey recognizes four main types of spousal support or alimony:
- Open Duration Spousal Support. Once known as permanent alimony, open duration alimony doesn't have a specified end date. This type of spousal support is often awarded after long marriages (20 years or longer) in which one spouse brought in a much smaller income or was a homemaker, making it unlikely that they would be able to maintain the marital standard of living on their own.
- Limited Duration Alimony. Awarded for a specified time period, limited duration spousal support is common in cases where a marriage lasted fewer than 20 years, or in instances where the supported spouse is reasonably expected to eventually reach the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.
- Rehabilitative Spousal Support. This type of alimony is paid for a defined duration, allowing the supported spouse to carry out a specified plan for self-sufficiency, such as returning to school, completing vocational or technical training, or starting a business. In some cases, rehabilitative alimony may be awarded in combination with open duration or limited support.
- Reimbursement Alimony. In instances where one spouse worked to support the other while they obtained advanced degrees or training, in anticipation of also reaping the benefits, the court may award reimbursement support that allows them to maintain their standard of living.
Determining Spousal Support in NJ
The type and amount of alimony you receive can be influenced by a number of factors, including:
- Need and ability to pay
- Duration of the marriage
- Age, physical health, and emotional well-being
- Standard of living established during the marriage and each spouse's ability to maintain it
- Education, vocational skills, employability, and earning capacities
- Length of absence from the job market
- Parental responsibilities
- Other circumstances deemed relevant
New Jersey doesn't have a standardized formula for determining spousal support, which is why it's absolutely imperative to have an experienced divorce and family law attorney to fight for your rights and advocate for your best interests throughout the negotiation and litigation processes.
Modifying or Terminating Alimony
Circumstances change and, when they do, your spousal support agreement may need to change with them. Our attorneys can help you understand the conditions under which a New Jersey alimony agreement may be changed—or even terminated.
Request a Private Consultation
If you're facing a separation or divorce, experienced spousal support attorneys Carl Taylor and Lisa Stein-Browning with Carl Taylor Law, LLC can help you secure an equitable spousal support agreement or award. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a discrete initial consultation with one of our skilled legal professionals.