Most spouses who are financially dependent on a partner hope to maintain their lifestyles after divorce. In many cases, one spouse gave up his or her educational opportunities or career in order to take care of children, handle issues related to the home, or work in a less prestigious job specifically in order to support the other spouse through higher education or establishment of a career. Sometimes, one spouse has made certain sacrifices throughout the marriage and has no financial resources with which to rebuild a life independent from the other. However, there are also situations in which one spouse has encouraged the other to work, but that spouse has preferred not to work. Determining the type, length, and amount of spousal support is a fact-sensitive exercise, and individuals seeking a divorce in or near Monmouth County may want to consult a family law attorney at Goldstein Law Group to protect their rights.Determining Spousal Support
Four types of alimony, or spousal support, are recognized in New Jersey: reimbursement alimony, rehabilitative alimony, temporary alimony (also known as alimony pendente lite), and limited duration alimony. Based on recent legislation that was passed and enacted in September 2014, the concept of “permanent” alimony no longer exists in this state. When a marriage lasts less than 20 years, payments generally may not extend any longer than the duration of the marriage. Moreover, alimony typically may end when the paying individual retires if the obligor spouse has attained his or her 67th birthday. These are known as “rebuttable presumptions,” which means that a party can attempt to demonstrate why the implementation of such a result would be inequitable under the specific facts of your case.
In some states, set calculations are or have been used, but in New Jersey, the court considers various factors more generally when deciding whether to award spousal support and how much to award.
Some of the issues to evaluate include:
- The requesting spouse's actual needs;
- Whether the spouse being asked to pay has the means to do so;
- The length of the marriage;
- The spouses' age and health;
- Each spouse's income and employability;
- The lifestyle maintained during the marriage;
- The parental responsibilities of each spouse, if they have children;
- Any nonfinancial contributions to the marriage; and
- How much time it will take for a dependent spouse to become self-supporting.
The court will also consider income-producing assets and the participation of each spouse in acquiring marital assets.
Reimbursement alimony compensates a spouse who supported his or her partner through advanced education and expected to receive benefits from that support, but didn't receive those benefits because of separation or divorce. Rehabilitative alimony allows a spouse to get back on his or her feet and get training or education in order to become self-supporting. Temporary alimony is used to help low earning or non-working spouses to cover their living expenses during the divorce proceedings. As the name suggests, it does not continue once a divorce is final. Limited duration alimony is common and awarded based on a spouse's financial need as well as these other factors in the statute. It terminates upon the expiration of the specified term of months or years, generally.
New Jersey courts also can grant a combination of these four categories of spousal support. If either spouse has a change in circumstances or fails to meet a particular goal after the divorce, such as obtaining a degree or completing the necessary educational or vocational courses, orders related to limited duration alimony and rehabilitative alimony can be modified. If the requesting spouse remarries or becomes involved in a civil union, limited duration alimony may be stopped. However, rehabilitative and reimbursement alimony will generally continue until the court orders them to stop.Seek Guidance for Your Divorce From a Middlesex County Attorney
At Goldstein Law Group, our divorce lawyers use their strong ties to the Middlesex County community and sterling legal education to help you seek a favorable resolution to a dispute over spousal support. We are passionately committed to serving our clients, who often come from towns such as East Brunswick, Manalapan, and Freehold. If you need a lawyer to guide you through divorce proceedings, contact us at 732-967-6777 or via our online form.