New Jersey Family Law and Divorce Lawyers
Alimony and Spousal Support
When a couple divorces, there are many changes that each spouse must adjust to, one of them losing the benefits of a dual income household. For countless couples, as the marriage comes to an end, so too does the lifestyle that they once enjoyed. In many cases, the marital breadwinner pays alimony to their spouse whose income and earning potential is below the standard of living the couple shared during their marriage.
New Jersey laws on alimony have gone through some significant changes over the past two years. Governor Chris Christie passed legislation in September 2014 that replaced antiquated laws concerning spousal support, most notably ending lifetime alimony. The new laws take into consideration the fact that women earn up almost 50 percent of the American workforce, with one third of them earning the primary income in the family.
Types of Alimony and Spousal Support:
There are several different types of alimony and spousal support that can be awarded, each based on the couple’s earning capacity and income.
Pendente Lite Support: This type of spousal support is not necessarily considered alimony, but is meant to temporarily provide financial assistance while the divorce process is taking place. Unlike alimony payments, this type of support is generally not considered taxable income.
Limited Duration Alimony: This type of alimony is most common in marriages that have lasted less than 20 years. New Jersey’s updated alimony laws dictate that this type of support cannot last longer than the marriage. The alimony settlement can be adjusted if the financial circumstances of the payer have changed. The updated laws allow changes to be made as soon as three to six months following unemployment, which is vastly different than the previous 12 months rule of thumb that many judges employed.
Permanent Alimony: The updated alimony laws in New Jersey put an end to permanent alimony that required a spouse in a long lasting marriage to pay support to their ex-spouse until death literally ended the arrangement. Now, this type of alimony can be revisited, modified, or ended when the payer reaches retirement age. The payments can also be modified if the financial or life situation of the payer changes, specifically in cases of unemployment and disability.
Rehabilitative Alimony: Alimony that is awarded in this category is meant to provide temporary financial support to a spouse that needs to pursue education or vocational training in order to increase their earning potential. The goal of rehabilitative alimony is to allow the lower income spouse the opportunity to become financially independent. Even if the spouse remarries during this period, the support may continue.
Reimbursement Alimony: Couples often rely on one spouse to work while the other pursues education or training that will increase their earning potential. In the case of divorce, reimbursement alimony can be awarded to the spouse that provided financial support to their marital partner while they focused on education or training. Payments continue even if the spouse receiving the alimony remarries because the primary goal is repayment of a debt.
Factors to Consider When Awarding Alimony
In a divorce proceeding, a judge will hear testimony from both spouses, and then consider the following factors before settling on an alimony payment.
- Length of the marriage
- Age, physical, and emotional health of both spouses
- Actual need and ability to pay
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Earning potential, education, and income of each party
- Length of absence from the workforce
- Parental responsibilities for child care
- Cost and time allotment for education and training for dependent spouse
- Monetary and non-monetary contributions to the marriage
- Equitable distribution
- Tax burden for both spouses
When to Consult a Divorce Lawyer
Temporary and long term alimony can have a significant impact on the lifestyles and futures of both marital partners in the event of a divorce. It is imperative that both spouses consult an experienced divorce lawyer to protect their assets and provide a settlement that is fair. The experienced team of New Jersey divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. have extensive experience helping a divorcing spouse reach alimony settlements that ensure their future income and earning potential are secure. We are committed to helping our clients fully understand the benefits and consequences of their alimony arrangements.
New Jersey Family Law and Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients in all Areas of Divorce and Alimony Settlements
If you or someone you know is considering divorce, it is vital to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer that can ensure that your legal rights and financial future are protected. The reputable team of New Jersey divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. has years of experience helping divorcing couples reach fair and equitable settlements.
Call us at 908-575-9777, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Somerville, New Jersey, serving clients throughout the Garden State.