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Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony Attorney and Spousal Support in South Jersey

If you’re going through a divorce, one of the major legal considerations may be alimony or spousal support. Depending on the duration of the marriage and any differences between each spouse’s income or earning capacity, one party may be entitled to seek alimony as part of the divorce. 


Types of Alimony in New Jersey

In New Jersey divorce cases, there are different types of alimony available to the supported spouse in the marriage. These include rehabilitative alimony, open durational alimony (previously called “permanent alimony”), reimbursement alimony, and limited duration alimony. 


Rehabilitative alimony is a form of spousal support designed to help the supported spouse obtain employment and reintegrate into the paid workforce after a certain period of time. This type of alimony may be used to cover costs like education or living expenses while the supported spouse strives to increase their earning capacity. As the name implies, it is intended to “rehabilitate” the party in the marriage who may have placed their career on hold or otherwise left the paid labor force to take care of children or the marital household. 


Reimbursement alimony is intended to pay back one spouse for financial contributions they made during the marriage towards the other party’s career or education. For instance, if one spouse paid for the other’s tuition or living expenses while they were in school, the paying spouse may be entitled to reimbursement alimony to compensate them for the money they contributed towards advancing the other party’s career and earning capacity.


Open durational alimony is a type of spousal support available to parties who have been married or in a civil union for twenty (20) years or more. Though it is not permanent under New Jersey’s alimony reform statute, it is a longer-lasting form of alimony. Unlike in limited duration alimony cases, open durational alimony may exceed the length of the parties’ marriage. However, it can be terminated under certain circumstances, such as when the payor spouse reaches retirement age or when the payee spouse remarries or begins an intimate, long-lasting, marriage-like relationship with a new partner.


In contrast, for marriages lasting less than 20 years, the term of alimony may not exceed the length of the parties’ marriage, except in exceptional circumstances. For example, if the marriage lasted ten years, spousal support could not last more than ten years. The length of the marriage is calculated from the date the marriage began (the date when the parties were legally married or entered into a civil union) until the date the parties separated (most often, the date on which the divorce complaint was filed). 


For marriages lasting less than 20 years, limited duration alimony may be available. Limited duration alimony is a form of term-limited alimony. In other words, alimony payments are limited to a specific number of months or years. Limited duration alimony in New Jersey is designed to help the supported spouse become self-supporting over the course of the alimony term. 


In addition, the Court may also order one spouse to pay “alimony pendente lite” or short-term alimony while the divorce litigation is ongoing. This means that while your divorce case is pending, one spouse may have to pay temporary spousal support to the other party so that they can maintain the same standard of living established during the marriage until the divorce is resolved. Temporary financial support of this nature is intended to preserve the “marital status quo” until the divorce is finalized. Once a Final Judgment is entered, alimony pendente lite or APL ends and may be replaced by one of the other forms of alimony mentioned above (for instance, limited or open durational alimony). 

How much alimony will I pay in New Jersey?

The amount of spousal support you can expect to pay depends on a variety of factors outlined in New Jersey’s alimony statute. There is no alimony calculator in New Jersey that a Court will use to determine spousal support. Rather, the Court will carefully weigh all of these statutory factors and make a decision as to the amount of alimony to award. 

How is alimony calculated?

These alimony factors include: 

(1) supported spouse’s actual need for alimony and the ability of the payor spouse to pay alimony 

(2) the duration of the marriage or civil union 

(3) each spouse’s age, physical health, and emotional health

(4) The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other

(5) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;

(6) The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking spousal support or maintenance;

(7) The parental responsibilities for the children;

(8) The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions

(9) The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;

(10) The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;

(11) The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;

(12) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment;

(13) The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any; and

(14) Any other factors which the court may deem relevant

Since alimony is not a straightforward formula, it is essential to seek advice from a family law attorney well-versed in alimony and spousal support in New Jersey. A seasoned practitioner can provide you with invaluable advice on how to litigate issues like alimony as part of a divorce or divorce settlement. Schedule a free consultation with Ormond Law today to obtain spousal support legal assistance and know your rights when it comes to alimony in divorce. 

More on Alimony and Spousal Support

This article will explain the differences between alimony, alimony pendente lite, and spousal support in Pennsylvania and how the Court determines alimony vs spousal support payments.

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