To find out a more accurate idea of the alimony you can expect to receive or pay as part of a divorce you should consult with an attorney.

Alimony FAQ

What is alimony?

Alimony is the payment that is made to one spouse by another spouse after a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to ‘balance’ the difference in the earning capacities for each party of a divorce, so that each party can continue to live in the same standard of living they have been accustomed to during their marriage. Alimony does not mean that marital property will be evenly distributed.

In the case of divorce, how do you determine alimony?

The guidelines to determine alimony are complex. Such considerations include the marital lifestyle, the ability of the spouse to pay, and the ability of the dependent spouse to contribute to their own support.

According to statutes, the following factors must be considered when determining alimony:

  • The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, both financial and non-financial.
  • The absent time period from the job market.
  • The established standard of living throughout the marriage and the likelihood of each party maintaining a reasonable and comparable standard of living.
  • The tax consequences related to alimony.
  • The earning capability of each party, as well as their education and employability.
  • The time and expense needed by the dependent spouse to garner the education and training to obtain employment.
  • Equitable distribution.
  • The length of the marriage.
  • The emotional health, physical health and age of the parties.
  • The genuine need for alimony in addition to the ability of the spouse to pay.
  • The parental responsibilities.
  • Any other relevant factor the court finds should be taken into consideration.

What role does earning capacity play in determining alimony?

The earning capacity of the dependent spouse plays a significant role in the amount of alimony set and can affect alimony both negatively and positively. In cases where the spouse is truly dependent on the supporting spouse, alimony will be affected positively. However, in cases where the dependent spouse is merely lazy or underemployed, alimony will be affected negatively.

What does pendente lite alimony mean?

In some cases of divorce, temporary alimony is awarded prior to the final divorce judgment. This is known as pendente lite alimony. The reasoning behind pendente lite alimony is to ensure the dependent spouse can maintain the established lifestyle of the parties until the divorce is final. This ensures that the mortgage will be paid, the phone remains in service, etc.

Will adultery affect alimony?

Objectively, no, adultery will not affect alimony. However, subjectively, yes it could potentially play a role in ‘coloring’ the view of the court.

What does limited duration alimony mean?

Limited duration alimony is most commonly awarded form of alimony. It is sometimes referred to as ‘term’ alimony. Limited duration means exactly that; it is alimony that is awarded for a limited duration of time.

What does rehabilitative alimony mean?

Similar to limited duration alimony awards, rehabilitative alimony is alimony that is paid only for a specific term. The idea behind rehabilitative alimony is that the dependent spouse can be supported during their attempt to educate or train themselves for employment. Note that rehabilitative alimony does not end as a result of remarriage.

What does permanent alimony mean?

Permanent alimony is exactly that; permanent. This is usually awarded in long-term marriages where there is a significant difference in earning capacity between the parties. For permanent alimony to be awarded, the dependent spouse exhibits an inability to earn the sufficient income needed to live comparably to the established marital lifestyle.

What does reimbursement alimony mean?

This is an alimony award that financially makes up for a spouse’s economic choices which enhanced earning capacity while the couple was married, such as obtaining a professional degree. Interestingly, reimbursement alimony is not affected by remarriage.

Will a domestic violence hearing affect alimony?

Usually, in the cases of domestic violence, a temporary alimony is awarded.

Can alimony be decreased after divorce?

Yes, if you can prove to the court that there has been a ‘change in circumstances’.

If the dependent spouse remarries, will their right to receive alimony be impacted?

In the cases of permanent alimony and term alimony, yes, it will be terminated. However, rehabilitative and reimbursement alimony are not affected and will not be terminated.

Will an ante nuptial agreement protect against alimony?

Yes and no. If alimony is addressed in the premarital agreement, the court will take this into consideration and will examine all circumstances of the case and agreement.

Will an inheritance affect alimony?

Receiving an inheritance is not subject to equitable distribution, but can definitely affect alimony. The size of the inheritance can affect the alimony award, either decreasing or increasing the award.

Will alimony affect child support?

A high alimony payment could result in a reduction in child support. There are various factors that will be taken into consideration.

For assistance with any alimony or spousal support issue in New Jersey, contact

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