Trenton Alimony Lawyers
Experienced Divorce Lawyers Represent Clients in Alimony Determinations in Mercer County and Throughout New Jersey
When a married couple decides to go their separate ways and one spouse enjoys a superior financial position over the other, the law can require the more well-off spouse to provide some form of financial support to his or her former spouse after their divorce is finalized. This form of support is known as alimony.
A spouse is not automatically entitled to alimony or spousal support following a separation or divorce. Instead, the need for alimony or spousal support and the amount of support to be paid must be established through a fact-intensive analysis.
If you and your spouse are separating or divorcing, you may either be entitled to receive alimony or may be ordered to pay alimony. Either way, you need experienced, legal representation to advocate for you and protect your rights to ensure that you receive a fair alimony or spousal support arrangement. Let the Trenton Alimony Lawyers at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC help you through the alimony and spousal support process. Contact us today.
Alimony in New Jersey
Alimony is a type of financial payment that one spouse pays to another. The purpose of these payments is to provide financial support to the dependent spouse for one or two purposes.
First, it helps the dependent spouse pay for basic living necessities.
Two, it serves as an attempt to allow the less financially secure spouse the ability to enjoy a standard of living while divorced that is as close as possible to what it was when married.
Depending on the facts of the marriage and the financial situations of each spouse, there are several different types of alimony available. New Jersey recognizes five different types:
- Alimony pendente lite
- Rehabilitative alimony
- Reimbursement alimony
- Open durational alimony
- Limited duration alimony
Alimony Pendente Lite in New Jersey
This type of alimony is unique because it provides financial support as the divorce takes place. This financial support will help with basic living costs. It may also help maintain the standard of living the financially dependent spouse grew accustomed to during the marriage.
Once the divorce process is over, alimony pendent lite stops. If a court decides to award alimony following the divorce, a different type of alimony will begin after the final divorce judgment is issued.
The court may grant alimony to a dependent spouse, but there is hope for that spouse to be able to eventually support themselves. One way to do this is to help the dependent spouse re-enter the job market.
In many cases, a dependent spouse lacks the experience or training to find a job that can provide them with sufficient income. That’s where rehabilitative alimony comes in, to provide financial assistance in order to get this training and education.
This is one of the less common forms of alimony in a New Jersey divorce. This type of alimony is intended to reimburse the spouse that helped contribute to the other spouse’s professional development. When there’s a divorce, the supporting spouse may be unable to enjoy the benefits of that investment.
For instance, imagine a husband wants to get a nursing degree, but can’t afford to do it on his own. But his wife agrees to work after high school to support both of them while her husband earns his degree. Then right after he becomes a nurse, they divorce.
In this case, reimbursement alimony pays back the wife for the contributions she made to the marital household while her husband went to school.
Open Durational Alimony
Until recently, open durational alimony was called lifetime alimony or permanent alimony. As its name implies, open durational alimony has an open end date. But the alimony can end when the parties reach retirement age, one of them dies, or the recipient alimony remarries.
Usually, only marriages that last a long time (think 20 or more years) end up with open durational alimony.
Limited Duration Alimony
This type of alimony is common. It’s intended for marriages that didn’t last long enough to justify open durational alimony. However, the marriage lasts long enough where it’s only fair to provide financial assistance to a dependent spouse for a period of time.
The amount of time that a couple must be married to require limited duration alimony is highly fact-dependent. A very rough starting point is to award limited duration alimony for a length of time that is half the length of the marriage. And in most cases, limited duration alimony will not last longer than the marriage itself.
How to Determine Alimony in NJ
When it comes to divorce cases, many of the key decisions that need to be made, such as child support, depend on general guidelines. Then, judges look at the specific facts to make a final decision. Alimony is no different.
When it comes to the decision to award alimony, as well as how long it should last and its amount, courts will examine 14 factors. Some of those factors include:
- How long the marriage lasted.
- How the court has awarded equitable distribution.
- The financial ability of a spouse to pay alimony.
- The potential earning capacity of both spouses.
- The economic need of the dependent spouse.
- The overall physical and mental health of the spouses.
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
- If alimony pendente lite was paid during the divorce and if so, how much.
The Effect a Spouse’s Refusal to Work Has on Alimony
If the spouse required to pay alimony chooses to quit working or consciously chooses to take on a lower-paying job, the court may “impute” income on them. The court will then use this “imputed income” as opposed to the spouses’ actual income, to help determine what amount of alimony they should pay.
For the spouse receiving alimony who chooses not to work, a court will also look to see what kind of earning potential they have. This will help the court decide what type of alimony they get and for how long.
Looking for a New Jersey Alimony Lawyer?
Alimony is often a hotly contested issue in many divorces. If you find yourself in a similar situation, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC. We will promptly reach out to you to listen to your situation and see how we can help you solve your alimony questions.
You only want what’s fair. We only want to help you through this difficult time. You’ve got nothing to lose by reaching out to Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC
Frequently Asked Questions About Alimony in New Jersey
The old rule was that the person paying alimony could get a tax deduction for making these payments. The old rule also said that the person receiving the alimony payments had to report them as taxable income.
With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, those rules no longer apply to new divorce agreements. This new tax law has flipped the tax benefits from the person paying to the person receiving.
Now, the spouse making alimony payments no longer get a tax deduction. And the spouse receiving the alimony no longer has to pay taxes on the payments received. Keep this in mind when negotiating your divorce agreement.
You are incorrect. In the majority of divorce cases, adultery does not affect whether alimony will be awarded.
If an affair affects alimony, it will usually be when the spouse having the affair takes substantial money from the marital household to pay for the affair. And even then, it will usually just reduce the alimony amount.