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How Do Courts Calculate Alimony?

After a divorce, one spouse usually ends up making alimony payments. There is no set way to calculate exactly how much alimony should be paid, nor are there too many completely definitive rules about how long an alimony agreement should last. As a result, courts have a lot of latitude when setting alimony, so it’s wise to have an attorney on your side to help you make your case. Our Morris County, NJ alimony and spousal support lawyers are ready to help you with that.

Does Alimony Last Forever?

It is rare that an alimony agreement lasts forever. Open duration, or permanent, alimony is usually only offered when a marriage has lasted 20 years or more. Otherwise, the amount of time that a spousal agreement lasts is not meant to be longer than how long the marriage lasted.

What Determines How Much is Paid?

The court does not have a specific formula to use to figure out how much alimony one spouse will pay another. Instead, it will consider a wide range of factors and then it will come to a conclusion about who should pay spousal support and how much those payments should be. Commonly considered elements include:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The education and earning potential of each spouse
  • The health of each spouse
  • The income and assets held by each spouse
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The parental responsibility taken by each spouse

The judge can also award different types of spousal support based on the specific situation. For example, one spouse could be ordered to pay what’s known as rehabilitative alimony, spousal support payments that are designed to help their former spouse receive education or job training that can allow them to become self-sufficient.

Can Alimony Agreements Change?

Alimony agreements can be changed in some circumstances. The paying spouse may try to ask for a modification if their income changes. If they are not purposefully attempting to make less money or hiding assets from the court and their spouse, they may be able to reduce their spousal support burden.

An agreement can also come to an abrupt end in some situations. If the paying spouse dies, obviously the agreement must end. If the spouse who gets paid gets married to someone else, there is no more need to pay alimony. You can even try to end your spousal support agreement if you believe that your former spouse is only cohabitating with someone else.

Contact Our Law Firm

If you are going through a divorce, you need a strong advocate on your side. Contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C. to schedule a consultation with our team. We are ready to help you fight for the best outcomes for you and your family.