A man and woman sitting on a sofa, removing their wedding rings

Understanding New Jersey Alimony Laws: Rights and Obligations Explained

Dealing with divorce can be overwhelming, as it brings various emotional and financial challenges. One of the most contentious issues is alimony.

Alimony is the legal obligation of the highest-earning spouse to provide financial support to their former partner. Alimony law isn’t restricted to one gender, and in New Jersey, it's even more complex as it depends upon 13 statutory factors. Each situation regarding alimony is unique, which is why it's important to have a good understanding of the laws surrounding it. In this guide, our alimony attorneys in New Jersey have explained everything you need to know.

Alimony in New Jersey

Also known as spousal maintenance or support, alimony is the amount that one spouse pays to the other following a divorce.

The primary purpose of this alimony law is to reduce the financial burden on the lower-income or unemployed spouse, enabling them to maintain a decent standard of living post-divorce. However, eligibility for alimony is not automatic—the court decides it based on the requesting party’s needs and circumstances. If both spouses have similar incomes, the court may not deem alimony necessary. This provision is typically reserved for cases where one spouse earns significantly more than the other.

Alimony can be temporary in some instances, but if the marriage lasted for more than 20 years, permanent alimony may be granted. On the other hand, for marriages of less than 20 years, spousal support may be provided for a limited duration to facilitate financial independence.

How To Calculate Alimony In New Jersey

There is no straightforward formula to calculate the amount of alimony, the court decides it by considering different factors. Some of these factors include:

  1. Income and Earning Capacity: The court examines the income, potential earning capacity, and financial resources of both spouses. This includes current income, future earning potential, and any additional financial assets or liabilities.
  2. Standard of Living: The court also considers the standard of living established during the marriage. This is to ensure that both parties can maintain a lifestyle reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage.
  3. Duration of the Marriage: As discussed, the length of the marriage significantly impacts the alimony decision. Longer marriages typically result in longer or more substantial alimony awards, while shorter marriages may result in shorter or lesser amounts.
  4. Age and Health: The court considers the age and physical and emotional health of both spouses. Older or less healthy spouses may require more support to maintain their standard of living.
  5. Contributions to the Marriage: Contributions made by each spouse during the marriage, including homemaking and child-rearing. Non-financial contributions are considered just as important as financial ones.
  6. Parental Responsibilities: The court looks at the responsibilities each parent will have for any minor children. This includes custody arrangements and the financial implications of those responsibilities.
  7. Tax Consequences: Potential tax implications for both parties to ensure that the alimony arrangement is financially feasible and fair.
  8. Education and Training: The level of education and vocational training of each spouse, as well as the time and expense required for the requesting spouse to acquire sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment.
  9. Marital Fault: While New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state, in certain cases, marital misconduct may be considered if it has a significant economic impact on the marriage.
  10. Financial Agreements: Any existing prenuptial or postnupital agreements are reviewed to determine their impact on the alimony decision.
  11. Other Factors: depending on the situation, the court may evaluate any other relevant factors.

A person in a suit sitting on a sofa and reviewing documents

Got more questions?

If you believe that your divorce may lead to financial difficulties, or if your ex-spouse is seeking spousal support and you require legal guidance, our alimony attorney Wayne, NJ, are here to assist you. At Donnelly & Warner, we provide a wide range of legal services to support families through difficult circumstances. Whether it's child support or divorce proceedings, we handle all aspects.

Call now for a free consultation.