Alimony (Spousal Support)
When a marriage is ending, individuals are often met with numerous, complicated decisions. During this concluding phase of a marriage, legal decisions are made that carry long-term impacts for all involved. One of the important decisions the New Jersey Courts generally makes on behalf of the couple is whether or not one spouse will be required to monetarily support the other spouse (referred to as “spousal support”). The financial support provided by one spouse to another spouse as set forth in the terms of an agreement or court order or settlement is referred to as alimony.
Decisions made during a divorce have a long-term impact on the quality of life for both partners. It is important that you obtain expert legal advice when you are involved in a divorce situation so that your rights and the rights of your children are protected through the consideration given to alimony payments. The experienced divorce attorneys at The Rotolo Law Firm have the skill and knowledge to obtain the appropriate alimony for their clients and obtain the best financial solution possible that will avoid any negative financial situations in the future.
There are a number of factors the New Jersey courts evaluate when determining if a spouse is eligible for alimony and, if the spouse is eligible, the amount of the alimony payments. The main purpose of alimony is to prevent an unbalanced economic situation from occurring as a consequence of divorce; Court-ordered alimony payments are intended to intervene and rectify this situation. Some factors considered in determining alimony:
- the length of the marriage;
- the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage;
- the relative income of each individual; and
- the needs of each spouse.
Whether or not an individual from the marriage is required to support the other individual is left up to the discretion of the New Jersey court system with its careful consideration of all the factors at hand. Under current New Jersey law, alimony can be in different forms depending on the factors considered by the Courts.
Permanent: Permanent alimony intends to allow the supported spouse continuation of the lifestyle he or she became accustomed to during the marriage and compensation for economic dependence created by the marriage. Courts will normally consider a permanent alimony request if the marriage was at least ten years long and if economic need is demonstrated. Limited duration alimony (see below) is now the trend.
Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony is temporary and it is intended to enable the former spouse to return to school or to obtain job training enabling him or her to gain financial independence. Rehabilitative alimony, for example, may require the husband pay tuition to acquire the knowledge or skills his ex-wife will need to enter the job market in a particular field.
Limited Duration: Limited duration alimony is similar to rehabilitative in that it is for a specified, limited period of time. This type of alimony is often awarded when the marriage itself existed for a limited time. When limited duration alimony is awarded, generally rehabilitative alimony does not apply; however, there may be circumstances that justify some financial support.
Reimbursement: Reimbursement alimony is awarded when a spouse has made sacrifices of either a professional or financial nature so that the other spouse is given the opportunity to pursue professional training or career development to enhance the spouse’s earning capacity at some point in the future.
In addition to the above forms of alimony, either party may request an award of temporary support while divorce is pending. This award, referred to as “pendente lite” support allows the parties to maintain their existing state of financial affairs until a complete analysis of the financials is done. While pendente lite alimony awards are only temporary, these awards can be adjusted via a settlement, or at trial if necessary.
The courts in New Jersey are not limited by the above categories of alimony. They may, in the interest of justice, allot awards that combine the different categories or awards that fall outside of the above categories altogether.
Call The Rotolo Law Firm today to discuss your alimony issues. Your initial half-hour consultation session is free.