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In New Jersey, no one automatically receives alimony. However, if there is a fairly significant difference between each spouse’s income, then the spouse who has a higher income will usually have to pay alimony. The court aims to ensure that both parties can live a similar lifestyle while divorced as they did while married.
In determining alimony, the court will consider a number of factors that are set by statute, including length of marriage, each spouse’s income, skill set, ability to make additional money, disability status, and child care responsibilities. The court will also consider what assets each spouse will receive in equitable distribution. To set the amount, the court will review the case information statements of both parties. A Case Information Statement (CIS) is a multi-page document prepared by each party that lists income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. This statement is used by the court to determine how assets and debts should be distributed in order to maintain each party’s lifestyle and put the parties on equal footing.
There is no strict formula for this, but the length of marriage is very important. Until a change in the law that occurred in 2014, a party could receive permanent alimony from their ex-spouse even if the marriage only lasted 10 years. Current law dictates that a party can collect alimony only for as long as the time period for which they were married. For example, if a marriage lasted for 15 years, then the maximum number of years that alimony would be paid is 15. If, however, a marriage lasted for more than 20 years, then open durational alimony may be ordered. This type of alimony is essentially the same as permanent alimony, and will continue uninterrupted until the paying spouse files a motion to end it.
There is no specific rule which states that alimony starts on a particular date. However, once the couple separates, the idea is that each party should try to maintain the marital lifestyle. As a result, the spouse who makes more money might be required to help pay for the other spouse’s rent, mortgage, utilities, support for the children, clothing, and other items during the pendency of the divorce. This is referred to as pendente lite support and it can be paid by the payor spouse voluntarily or in response to a motion filed by the party who seeks the support. The amount that is paid during the pendency of the divorce is not necessarily reflective of the amount that will be paid after the divorce.
For more information on Alimony/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.