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Alimony

New Jersey Spousal Support & Alimony Laws

Alimony in New jersey can have a long-term effect on the quality of life after your divorce is final. The alimony attorneys at Aretsky Law Group, P.C., understand that you are concerned about the effect that the dissolution of your marriage will have upon your finances.

Whether you are the payee or the recipient, the amount of alimony in New Jersey can have a lasting effect upon the lifestyle you are able to enjoy. For that reason, alimony is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alimony in New Jersey

Our dedicated attorneys will explain all you have to know about these and other questions regarding alimony in New Jersey:

  • What is alimony?
  • What are the different types of alimony in New Jersey?
  • How long do you have to be married to get alimony in New Jersey?
  • When does alimony end in New Jersey?
  • Is termination of alimony in New Jersey possible?
  • When does alimony end in New Jersey?
  • Can you still collect alimony if you get remarried?
  • Do you still have to pay alimony if you get remarried?
  • Can you modify spousal support?
  • Can you fight spousal support?
  • How is alimony calculated?
  • How will alimony affect my tax situation?
New Jersey Alimony Agreements

Your Aretsky Law Group, P.C., attorney will assess your situation and advise you as to whether you will likely be ordered to pay spousal support or if you will be the recipient of such support. In either case, we will use our expertise and knowledge of New Jersey family law to craft an agreement that is in your best interests.

Our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers can also help you enforce an existing agreement or file a motion to modify an agreement if a change in circumstance warrants it.

The New Jersey Alimony Reform Act of 2014

Changes in the law that occurred when the Alimony Reform Act of 2014 went into effect make it even more important that you choose a qualified New Jersey divorce lawyer with expertise in these and other issues involved in the dissolution of a marriage.

Call us for an initial consultation at 800-537-4154. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

Alimony in New Jersey

As a law firm who focuses primarily in New Jersey divorce and family law, our attorneys are often asked by our clients to explain the basics of alimony and spousal support in order to better understand their options and obligations.

What is Alimony?

Spousal support, more commonly known as alimony, is money that one spouse pays to the other during a separation, while a divorce is in process, or after a final divorce order has been issued.

The purpose of alimony is to limit any unfair effects of the divorce. Alimony helps ensure that the needs of the spouse with fewer financial assets are met and may also allow that spouse to maintain the lifestyle the couple enjoyed before the separation or divorce.

Types of Alimony in New Jersey

Under current New Jersey law there are several different forms of alimony:

  • Pendente lite alimony
  • Open durational alimony
  • Limited durational alimony
  • Rehabilitative alimony
  • Reimbursement alimony

The court may grant a combination of two or more types of alimony.

Pendente lite alimony is temporary. Its purpose is to allow the recipient to pay for basic expenses during the divorce proceedings. It may or may not be replaced by another type of alimony when the divorce is final.

Open durational alimony replaced permanent alimony when the Alimony Reform Act of 2014 went into effect. It differs from permanent alimony, which is no longer granted in New Jersey, in two important ways:

  1. Open durational alimony can only be granted for a marriage that lasted more than 20 years; permanent alimony did not have this requirement.
  2. Unlike permanent alimony, open durational alimony is presumed to terminate upon retirement unless the recipient is able to convince the Court that the alimony should continue. Previously the burden was on the payee to show why it should end.

Limited durational alimony , which is also known as durational alimony or term alimony, has a specific ending date. The Court has the option of extending it, but since the Alimony Reform Act of 2014, the duration of this type of alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage.

Rehabilitation alimony is awarded as part of the spousal support to enable a spouse become self-sufficient. For example, it might be awarded to allow the spouse to return to school or to have time to find a job.

Reimbursement alimony is sometimes awarded when one spouse contributed to the other spouse’s education or training and the marriage did not last long enough for the one who contributed to benefit financially from that education or training.

See NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-23 (2016): Alimony, maintenance

The Length of the Marriage and the Duration of Alimony

There is no set formula that automatically determines if someone will get alimony. When considering whether to award alimony and how much to award, however, New Jersey Courts consider the length of the marriage to be an important factor. It became even more important since the Alimony Reform Act.

When alimony ends depends upon the length of the marriage.

Termination of Spousal Support in Marriages Lasting Less Than Twenty Years

Under the new law—except in unusual circumstances—if a couple was married less than twenty years, the supporting spouse is not obliged to pay alimony for a longer period of time than the length of the marriage.

Termination of Spousal Support in Marriages Lasting More Than Twenty Years

As noted in the previous section, if a marriage lasted more than twenty years, the dependent spouse is eligible for open durational alimony; permanent alimony did not have the 20-year requirement.

In marriages that lasted more than twenty years, open durational alimony is presumed to terminate when the supporting spouse reaches full retirement age. This is a rebuttable presumption. The burden is on the dependent spouse to convince the court that alimony should be extended.

Unusual Circumstances

Even in marriages that only lasted a year, the court might decide that unusual circumstances, such as the chronic illness of the dependent spouse, require an extension of the duration of the alimony.

Remarriage and the Termination of Alimony in New Jersey

If a dependent spouse remarries, alimony payments automatically end. The supporting spouse is no longer obliged to continue making spousal support payments. This is true no matter which type of alimony was in effect.

Also, termination that occurs when the dependent spouse remarries is permanent. In other words, even if this new marriage ends in divorce, the original supporting spouse is no longer obliged to pay spousal support.

On the other hand, if the supporting spouse remarries, he or she must continue to make alimony payments.

See NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-25 (2016): Termination of Alimony

Modification of Spousal Support in New Jersey

As time goes on, a change in circumstances might lead to the need to reduce alimony payments if you are the supporting spouse or to have your payments increased if you are the dependent spouse. If both agree to the modification, then there is no problem. An agreement would be drawn and the two parties would sign it.

If one of them objects to the change, the party requesting the change must file a motion with the court. That motion must describe the change in circumstance. It must also show that the change was involuntary, permanent, substantial, and unanticipated.

These are some of possible situations that might lead someone to file a motion to modify or terminate spousal support:

  • Your income decreased substantially.
  • Your ex-spouse remarried.
  • The cost of living rose substantially.
  • Your income depended on a business that failed.
  • The income of your ex-spouse substantially increased.
  • Your compensation package lost a lot of its value.
  • You recently retired.
  • You developed an illness or disability that affects your ability to earn money.

Modification of alimony is another area that saw a change with the passage of the Alimony Reform Act. Before that time, if a supporting spouse filed a motion to reduce the amount of alimony, he or she had to prove that the change was necessary. With reform the burden of proof shifted to the dependent spouse, who must convince the Court that the reduction should not be granted.

If you need assistance with the termination or modification of alimony in New Jersey, contact Aretsky Law Group, P.C. Our seasoned divorce and family law attorneys will draft and file the necessary motions and will work vigorously to obtain favorable results.

See NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-23 (2016): Alimony, maintenance remedies

Fighting Alimony in a New Jersey Divorce

Alimony is not awarded in every divorce. If your ex-spouse is seeking spousal support and you do not believe he or she is entitled to those payments, contact a qualified New Jersey divorce attorney.

See NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-23 (2016): Alimony, maintenance

Calculation of Alimony in New Jersey

New Jersey courts do not follow a specific formula in calculating spousal support. Instead they consider various factors, which are detailed in New Jersey statutory law.

Factors in Determining the Amount and Duration of Alimony

Since the Alimony Reform Act of 2014 went into effect, New Jersey courts must take these factors into consideration when determining the amount and duration of alimony:

  1. As noted previously, the duration of the marriage is an important factor. Except in unusual circumstances, the longer the marriage, the longer the duration of spousal support. Under 20 years, alimony can only last as long as the marriage lasted.
  2. The age and physical and emotional health of each party are very important factors.
  3. The Court considers the standard of living established during the marriage.
  4. The Court determines the dependent spouse’s requirements to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
  5. The Court also takes into consideration how payments would affect the standard of living of the supporting spouse. Would the resulting effect be equitable?
  6. The income of each spouse, including from equitable distribution of marital property, is an important factor.
  7. The potential of each spouse to earn a living is considered. This includes such factors as how long the dependent spouse was out of the work force and whether further education and/or training is necessary to enable that spouse to again enter the work force.
  8. Each party’s parenting responsibilities are another consideration.
  9. How each contributed to the marriage; this includes not only financial contributions, but also parenting and homemaking ones.
  10. Tax consequences to each may be considered.
  11. And any other factor deemed relevant by the Court.
Alimony and Taxes

Alimony payments are tax deductible for the supporting spouse, and income from alimony is taxable for the dependent spouse.

Is it the Same for Child Support?

No, child support is not considered taxable income for the recipient; therefore, child-support payments are not tax deductible.

It stands to reason that the dependent spouse would prefer to receive more as child support and less as spousal support, and the supporting spouse would prefer to pay more as alimony and less as child support.

Civil Unions and Alimony

In New Jersey, partners in a civil union may also be awarded alimony when the civil union is dissolved.

See NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-24.1 (2016): Court-ordered support, maintenance

Is There Palimony in New Jersey?

Although the term is commonly used, palimony is not actually a legal term in New Jersey. However, if a couple residing in New Jersey were neither married nor in a civil union, and one partner agreed to support the other, the partner being promised support may be entitled to it after the relationship ends.

The first necessity is that the supporting partner promised to provide financial support or to share a home or other property.

If that is the case, then one of two conditions must be met:

  1. If the agreement was made after January 8, 2010, then it must be in writing and signed by both parties. Each should have a separate attorney.
  2. If the agreement was made beforeJanuary 8, 2010, then it does not have to be in writing.

S ee Maeker v. Ross | 99 A.3d 795 (2014). Court recognized the enforceability of a palimony agreement against a person who promised to provide future support to a partner with whom he shared a marital-like relationship

Enforcement of Alimony Payments

The first thing that must be done is to file a motion with the court. If you have hired an attorney, then he or she would file on your behalf.

Remedies

Your attorney will ask for these and possibly other remedies:

  • the payment of all outstanding spousal-support obligations;
  • the requirement to make future payments on time.
  • the payment of attorney fees caused by the failure to pay as ordered; and
  • if warranted, a bench warrant for the delinquent party’s arrest.
How the Court May Respond

The court may respond in several ways:

  1. One of the most common ways is to garnish the wages of the offender. Depending upon the amount of alimony owed and the income of the supporting spouse, the dependent spouse may be able to obtain all of the unpaid alimony payments through this method.
  2. Another possibility is to order the local sheriff to seize and sell the specified property of the offender and to use the proceeds to pay the dependent spouse what is owed.

See NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-24.1 (2016): Court-ordered support, maintenance

See NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-26 (2016): Attachment of property.

Call Us For Aggressive Representation in Alimony Cases

If your ex has failed to comply with court-ordered spousal support obligations, then the alimony attorneys at Aretsky Law Group, P.C., are there to fight for your rights. contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Whether you are the payee or the recipient, spousal support can have a lasting impact on your lifestyle after your divorce becomes final. The respected family-law attorneys at Aretsky Law Group, P.C., will analyze your case and determine which, if any, type of alimony the Court is likely to grant to either spouse.

If you already have an alimony agreement but believe a modification or a termination is warranted, our dedicated New Jersey alimony attorneys can help. Of course, we can also assist you if you want to fight a motion to modify or terminate your agreement.

We will work closely with you to help you understand your situation and to develop legal strategies to ensure spousal-support arrangements that meet your needs.

If you have questions about alimony or other divorce or family law matters, call us 24/7 at 800-537-4154 to schedule an initial consultation.

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