New Jersey Alimony Laws May Change Dramatically in the Near Future

Following the lead of Massachusetts, a move is underway to dramatically change New Jersey’s alimony laws.  Currently, alimony may be temporary or permanent, and the divorce court judge has a lot of discretion in how alimony (usually called spousal maintenance) is calculated.  The proposed new alimony statute would eliminate permanent alimony and introduce strict guidelines for calculating temporary alimony payments, similar to the child support calculator New Jersey (and most states) use to calculate child support.

If your divorce is finalized before any new alimony law takes effect, then your alimony calculation will be under the existing law.  The Somerville family law attorneys of Lyons & Associates can explain how alimony works currently and whether you would benefit from waiting to divorce until a new spousal maintenance statute goes into effect.

Under current New Jersey law, one or more of five different types of spousal maintenance may be available to either spouse:

  • Temporary alimony: To help low-income spouses with living expenses while the divorce is in progress
  • Limited duration alimony: Intended to help with living expenses after the divorce is final, but for a limited time.
  • Permanent alimony: Rarely granted, always after a long marriage during which one spouse left the workforce to raise the children of the marriage or to help the spouse’s career or education, or where there is a big difference in the parties’ incomes.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: To help pay for necessary education or vocational training to re-enter the workforce and become self-supporting
  • Reimbursement alimony: To compensate one spouse paid for something on behalf of the other spouse and is entitled to be paid back.

Even if you meet one of these spousal maintenance situations, an alimony award is not automatic.  The divorce court judge will also consider the other spouse’s financial ability to pay along with other factors like the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s parenting responsibilities, and each spouse’s contributions (both monetary and non-monetary) to the marriage.

Read an April 2013 news story about New Jersey alimony reform on the website of New Jersey public television station NJTV.

Contact Us for Answers to Questions About Alimony and Spousal Maintenance

At Lyons & Associates, we bring a high level of personalized service and attention to each of our clients, in every family law case we handle. To schedule an appointment to discuss divorce and spousal maintenance questions, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.