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Alimony in New Jersey is not automatically awarded. In order to determine alimony in a case, the court will look to a statute which was changed in 2014 to be more payor friendly. Prior to these changes, some counties would require a person who had been married for 10 years to pay alimony forever. This was unfair, because it would require some people to end up paying alimony for longer than they were married. The term for paying alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage in the absence of limited circumstances. The length of marriage lasting 20 years or more, open durational alimony may be awarded, which is just a fancy term for permanent alimony. However, any change of circumstances could justify a modification to an alimony award.
The amount of alimony to be paid is not calculated by using a formula. In New Jersey, there are 14 factors that a judge must consider before making an award of alimony; not all factors are considered equal and some don’t apply in every case. For example, if a couple has young children, then parental responsibilities would be an extremely important factor. If a couple does not have children or only has adult children, then parental responsibilities wouldn’t be considered at all. Some people may have a disabled spouse, others may have a spouse who has been out of the workplace for a while and may need to obtain training before trying to re-enter the workforce. Each of the 14 factors that a court must consider at trial stand independently and are weighed differently in every case.
In calculating alimony, the court will look at each spouse’s income and the case information statement (CIS), which is a multipage document that must be filed by each party. The CIS outlines each spouse’s financial history, including salary, assets, debts and the details of their budget. In an ideal world, the court would like to have each party maintain a lifestyle that is similar after the divorce as it was during the course of the marriage. The problem is that many people are living at their means with the combined income from the marriage, which means each individual spouse can’t afford to live in their own home. Unfortunately, these types of divorce cases are the most contentious, but neither party can afford the expense of the divorce itself. They clearly cannot enjoy that lifestyle.
Spousal support can begin when the parties separate. The parties are supposed to maintain the status quo during the pendency of the divorce and up to the actual judgment of divorce being entered. During the separation or course of time that the divorce is pending, support may be paid. If one spouse believes they should be receiving support and they are not, then they can file a pendente lite motion (which is Latin for pending litigation) to have the status quo maintained during the pendency of the divorce. When negotiating post-divorce alimony, the court will consider the time support was paid during the pendency of the litigation to calculate the alimony term so that it is fair to the paying spouse.
Under the 2014 amendments to the law, the maximum amount of time a person can receive alimony is the length of the marriage, unless they were married 20 years or more, in which case alimony would be considered open durational alimony. That means Alimony is paid, without a scheduled ending date, until a motion is filed to terminate or modify it.
For more information on Alimony Or Spousal Support In New Jersey, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (855) 208-3650 today.