In the State of New Jersey there are currently four types of alimony:
Limited duration alimony;
Open Durational alimony;
The statute provides that a person may receive a combination of different types of alimony.
The Court will look at the following factors in determining the type of alimony awarded, the amount of alimony awarded, and the duration of the alimony awarded:
The actual needs of the parties and the ability of the supporting party to pay;
The duration of the marriage;
The age and physical and emotional health of the parties;
The standard of living established in the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living.
The earning capabilities, educational levels, vocational skills and employability of the parties.
A length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
The parental responsibilities for the children;
The time and expense necessary to require sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to seek appropriate employment, the availability of training for employment and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
The history of the financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;
The equitable distribution of the property ordered and any pay-outs of equitable distribution directly or indirectly out of current income to the extent that this consideration is reasonable, fair and just;
The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;
The tax treatment consequence to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment;
Any other factors which the Court may deem relevant.
Although these are the factors listed by Statute, the four most significant factors that a Court takes into account are:
The actual need of the dependant spouse;
The ability of the supporting spouse to pay;
The standard of living established in the marriage; and
The duration of the marriage.
The most interesting of these four factors currently is "the standard of living established in the marriage".
Currently there are no decisions in the State of New Jersey that define what is meant by "the standard of living established in the marriage". Factors that the Court normally looks at in determining the standard of living during the marriage are:
The housing during the marriage;
The number of vacations taken per annum;
o Necessities; and
In order to determine what the standard of living was during the marriage, the simplest way is to have all of the expenditures of the marriage put into the computer in a financial program. We use Quicken due to its simplicity and ease that the reports can be generated showing various components of the standard of living. In preparation for divorce, it is suggested that you obtain the tax returns from the inception of the marriage to date (or as many as are easily available) and bank statements over the last five (5) years of the marriage (including deposit slips and cancelled checks).
Although many of the Courts are suggesting that income averaging is a method to determine standard of living in a long term marriage that will not work especially when there has been a significant rise in the income earning of the parties.
Open Durational Spousal Support has replaced "permanent alimony" in New Jersey, as of September, 2014. This new alimony concept in New Jersey has minimal case law interpreting it. Please contact us to speak with a divorce attorney who will be able to discuss your options under this new alimony paradigm.
Limited duration alimony is similar to Open Durational alimony, however, it has a specific term. Usually limited duration alimony is not modified except in unusual cases. Limited duration alimony can continue to the end of the term notwithstanding a remarriage of the receiving spouse depending on the award.
Rehabilitative alimony is a short term award of alimony to enable the former spouse to contemplate the preparation necessary for economic self-sufficiency and ceases when the dependant spouse is in a position of self support. Rehabilitative alimony is appropriate when one spouse gave up or postponed their education to support the household and requires a lump sum or a short term award to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Rehabilitative alimony is not appropriate where the supported spouse is unable to return to the job market or has already attained economic self-sufficiency.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding alimony, please contact us today for a consultation.
Kerr & Thomlison, L.L.C.
Attorneys at Law
650 Washington Street, Suite 1C
Toms River, NJ 08753
Phone: 732 736-8100
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
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