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Essential New Jersey Spousal Support Laws

AlimonyIn this article, you can discover:

  • Is there a formula for calculating alimony?
  • The main factors which determine alimony in New Jersey

How Is The Amount Of Spousal Support Or Alimony Determined?

In New Jersey, spousal support (also known as alimony) is determined by the lifestyle that the couple had during their marriage. Unlike the guidelines used for calculating child support, there is no set formula for determining spousal support. Therefore, the Court must examine the lifestyle and spending habits of the couple during their marriage. For example, one couple could enjoy dinners in Red Bank while vacationing in the Caribbean while another couple might prefer dinner at the Olive Garden and visiting National Parks and these differences are what may be explored when determining spousal support.

New Jersey’s spousal support statute (NJSA 34 N.J.S. 2A:34-23) instructs courts to consider specific factors when deciding the level support one of the parties will be receiving. The factors are not given any specific weight, but if the judge does place more importance on one factor over another, that judge is required to explain, in writing, why the greater importance was given.

The Factors that the Court will consider are as follows:

  1. The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;
  2. The duration of the marriage or civil union;
  3. The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
  4. The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other;
  5. The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;
  6. The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
  7. The parental responsibilities for the children;
  8. The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
  9. The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;
  10. The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;
  11. The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;
  12. The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment;
  13. The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any; and
  14. Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

In 2014, the New Jersey legislature added additional factors that the Court must consider when deciding the duration and the amount of support if the marriage or civil union was less than 20 years in length. Our legislature determined that in marriages less than 20 years, the Court should, in addition to the above factors, consider additional factors given the impact of the “parties’ need for separate residences and the attendant increase in living expenses on the ability of both parties to maintain a standard of living reasonably comparable to the standard of living established in the marriage or civil union, to which both parties are entitled, with neither party having a greater entitlement thereto.” (NJSA 34 N.J.S. 2A:34-23)

These additional factors are as follows:

  1. The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage or civil union and at the time of the alimony award;
  2. The degree and duration of the dependency of one party on the other party during the marriage or civil union;
  3. Whether a spouse or partner has a chronic illness or unusual health circumstance;
  4. Whether a spouse or partner has given up a career or a career opportunity or otherwise supported the career of the other spouse or partner;
  5. Whether a spouse or partner has received a disproportionate share of equitable distribution;
  6. The impact of the marriage or civil union on either party’s ability to become self-supporting, including but not limited to either party’s responsibility as primary caretaker of a child;
  7. Tax considerations of either party;
  8. Any other factors or circumstances that the court deems equitable, relevant and material.

With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Family Law Cases, you can have the peace of mind knowing that we understand every person’s situation is unique and that we will aggressively seek the best outcome in your divorce.

For more information on Divorcing in New Jersey, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 365-3299 today.

Eric Hannum, Esq.

Get Your Questions Answered - Call Me
For Your Free, 20 Minute Phone
Consultation: (732) 365-3299

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