The legal responsibility by one spouse to the other spouse for financial provisions and support during a divorce, both pre and post, is referred to as spousal support, alimony, or spousal maintenance. Alimony’s origins reside in the court’s intent to provide a balance of economic advantage, so that one spouse does not unfairly face financial hardships as a result of the divorce. At its earliest inception, alimony was designed more as a safety net for the wife; however, as gender equality advancements continued through the decades, men have slowly but surely gained an equal standing in the eyes of the court in most states.
Taking a brief glance at an overall picture of alimony across the nation, the courts generally consider several factors in an alimony award, including the duration of the marriage, the existing and projected financial situations of each party, the health and age of each party, and the conditions behind the breakdown of the marriage.
Alimony, as it relates specifically to New Jersey divorce and family law, considers the following for an alimony award:
- The needs of each party involved and their ability to pay;
- How long the couple were married;
- The overall physical and emotional health and age of each spouse;
- What standard of living was established and the ability to maintain it;
- The spouses’ employability, financial situation and earning capacity, both present and future;
- Responsibilities and roles of each spouse, including parental;
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, both financial and non-financial;
- The associated tax ramifications;
- Any other relevant information.
You should consult with an attorney if you want to arrive at a better idea of what your potential alimony settlement might be.