Changes to New Jersey divorce laws had a big impact on alimony
In 2014, a law was passed that had a big impact on alimony (spousal support) payments in New Jersey. Whether you are the receiver or provider of alimony, it’s important to understand the impact of these changes on your current or future alimony arrangement. Some of the factors that are considered for whether alimony will be awarded include:
- Actual needs and ability to pay
- Duration of the marriage
- Age and health of both parties
- If the spouses can maintain a standard of living similar to what they had during the marriage
- Skills and education that contribute to earning capacity and employability
- How long a spouse has not worked
- Parental responsibilities
- Financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage
- Other income available to the parties
- Equitable distribution of property and debts
- Alimony’s tax consequences
- Amounts paid while a divorce is pending
- Any other factors the court finds relevant
Your New Jersey divorce lawyer can advise you on these and any additional factors that the court may consider and how they apply to your specific circumstances.
Understanding the types of alimony
The change in the NJ divorce law replaced permanent alimony with open duration alimony. In a NJ divorce, alimony may be awarded to either spouse, regardless of gender. Essentially, there are now four types of alimony in NJ:
- Open Durational Alimony. Though it’s often thought of as the replacement for permanent alimony, open durational alimony is not always permanent. To qualify, the marriage must have lasted for at least 20 years, or one spouse is financially dependent or permanently unable to work due to disability or another impediment to employability.Alimony may be awarded until the receiving spouse remarries, lives with someone as if married, or until the paying spouse reaches retirement age or dies. Either spouse can ask the court to adjust the alimony amount if there has been a change in circumstances such as retirement or a change in health or employment status.
- Limited Duration Alimony. The court may grant temporary alimony for a specified period of time. The time period is based on how long it may take the receiving spouse to improve their circumstances so alimony is no longer needed. Typically, limited duration alimony will not last longer than the marriage lasted. The award is usually based on how long it may take to achieve a certain milestone such as the time it may take a receiving spouse to get a job. The court can change the award amount based on changed circumstances or if the milestone is not achieved, but it usually will not change the length of time that alimony will be paid.
- Rehabilitative Alimony. This type of alimony may apply if the receiving spouse is likely to be self-supporting after getting additional education or training. The agreement specifies steps for achieving the education or training and how long the rehabilitative alimony is expected to last.
- Reimbursement Alimony. The court may determine that you can be reimbursed for money you spent to put your spouse through school or training and expected to benefit from your spouse’s increased income.
Not all of these alimony options will be appropriate for your divorce. A divorce lawyer who understands New Jersey alimony can help you protect your interests in the divorce and help you get the appropriate spousal support arrangement.
Contact a trusted Middlesex County divorce attorney to learn more about alimony
Attorney Steven Cytryn can help you get answers to your questions about open durational alimony or types of temporary alimony. Divorce can be a difficult, emotional experience. We treat our clients with compassion and aggressively pursue their interests. Contact the Law Offices of Steven M. Cytryn online or at (732) 214-1103.