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Spousal Support

Copy-of-Fotolia_80752093_L-768x512.jpgDuring and after divorce, one spouse may require financial support - commonly called alimony. The support is intended to allow that spouse to maintain a lifestyle as close as possible to the standard of living during the marriage. Of course, divorce often necessitates the maintenance of separate households and duplicative expenses thereby reducing net disposable income available for support.

There are various types of alimony:

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    • Rehabilitative alimony is intended to help the supported spouse become self-supporting and is limited in duration
    • Reimbursement alimony compensates a spouse who supported the other spouse through advanced education
  • Open-durational alimony has replaced permanent alimony and applies to long term marriages lasting longer than 20 years
  • Limited-durational alimony applies to marriages that are not long term and assists the less-monied spouse in maintaining their standard of living

Parties can agree on payment of alimony and an amount, or the parties can take the matter to court where a judge will decide the issue. Alimony is taxable to the receiving party and tax deductible to the payor. When determining the amount and duration of alimony, a judge will examine several factors:

  • the requesting spouse's needs and the other spouse's ability to pay
  • duration of the marriage
  • each spouse's age and health
  • each spouse's income, earning capacity, education level, and employability
  • marital standard of living
  • parental responsibilities
  • the time and expense necessary to obtain education or training, and
  • each spouse's financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage

There are no specific alimony calculators in New Jersey. Once alimony is awarded, a judge may modify alimony orders in the future if there is a change in circumstances. For example, if the supported spouse was not able to become self-supporting as early as expected, the court can extend the duration. If the recipient spouse remarries or enters into a civil union, alimony payments by statute are terminated. The death of either spouse will terminate alimony, however your Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) should include a provision for maintenance of life insurance to secure the obligor's alimony obligation. If you require assistance with alimony, contact an experienced family law attorney.

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