Spousal Support in New Jersey
Divorce requires couples to settle several legal matters. Part of this may require spousal support payments, also known as alimony. This is court-ordered support payments from one spouse to another in an effort to support them while they work towards gaining their own independence. Sometimes, couples may have a single-income household. This means that one spouse is the family provider while the other is the caretaker of the home and children. When this happens, one spouse can be financially dependent on the other, leaving them in an unfair financial state after the divorce. Support payments can be required for a period of time to assist the spouse in starting their new life.
Types of Alimony
In the state of New Jersey, there are four different types of alimony that may be appointed to spouses depending on the circumstances surrounding their divorce. These categories include:
- Open Durational Alimony: Couples who were married or in a civil union over 20 years. Support must be paid without a specific end date and continues until there is a lawful reason to terminate it. Situations that may require termination could be cohabitation, remarriage, if the payor becomes disabled or unemployed, or if the dependent spouse becomes independent.
- Limited Duration Alimony: Marriage or civil union that lasted less than 20 years. Alimony payments are set for no longer than the length of the marriage. The payments may also end if there is a change in circumstances.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: When a dependent spouse put off their career to support the other spouse and help their family, this alimony requires funds to pay for schooling or training for the dependent spouse.
- Reimbursement Alimony: This support reimburses a spouse if they financed the other spouse’s education or training.
Factors in Determining Spousal Support
Divorces can often be very difficult and marriages do not always end on good terms. The discussion of alimony can become challenging if one spouse does not want to support the other. This is why the court makes all decisions regarding support payments, not the spouses. The court considers several different factors when reaching a decision. This may include:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each party
- The earning capacity of each party
- The needs of the spouse who is dependent
- The independent party’s ability to provide support for the dependent party
- Whether the dependent party has had a significant absence from the job market
- The equitable distribution of property
- Each spouse’s parental responsibility for any children they may have
- The standard of living that the couple established during the course of the marriage
- Whether there is any income available from investments
- Whether there are any tax implications from spousal support payments
When a court establishes the amount that is due in support payments, they usually do not consider if there is a marital fault. This means a judge does not make a decision based on if one spouse was at fault for the end of the marriage.
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