In 2014, New Jersey’s alimony laws when through an overhaul. The changes included in this bill modernized the current laws, taking into consideration the realities that couples today face, such as dual-income households and cohabitation with a new partner after a divorce without marrying the new partner.
Alimony is far more complicated than one spouse simply making payments to his or her former partner for the rest of their lives. There are multiple types of alimony agreements available, each tailored to specific needs that couples face. In essence, alimony is designed to make the transition from married life to single life easier on the spouse who earned less money during the marriage, generally because he or she opted to leave the workforce to focus on the couple’s children and household. The following four types of alimony are available for New Jersey couples.
This type of alimony was previously known as permanent alimony. With this type of agreement, the lesser-earning spouse receives support for an unlimited length of time following their divorce. This can mean for the remainder of his or her life, but this is not guaranteed. If the receiving spouse remarries or either partner experiences significantly changed circumstances, an open durational alimony agreement can be altered by the court to reduce or eliminate the support. This type of alimony agreement is designed for couples who were married for twenty years or longer and one spouse spent the majority of that time financially dependent on the other.
Like its name implies, this type of alimony is meant to prepare the receiving spouse for his or her reentry to the workforce. It is a short-term award that may be used to partially fund a college degree or vocational program that would enable the lesser-earning spouse to become financially self-sufficient. Once this goal is reached, the payments cease.
Do not confuse reimbursement alimony with rehabilitative alimony. Reimbursement alimony is meant to pay back the party that supported the other while he or she pursued higher education or vocational training. Rehabilitative alimony is meant to cover a spouse who opted out of the workforce’s needs while he or she pursues this training or education after the divorce. For example, a husband who helped pay for his wife’s medical schooling with the expectation that it would later benefit them both economically, then divorced shortly after she completed her education, would be entitled to reimbursement alimony because he did not receive the economic advantage in which he invested.
Limited duration alimony is a payment that a spouse may receive for a specified length of time. Unlike reimbursement and rehabilitative alimony, it is not meant to cover a specific need. Instead, it is used like open durational alimony to maintain the standard of living that the lesser-earning spouse experienced while he or she was married. The difference between this type and open durational alimony is that with limited duration alimony, the award eventually ends. This type of agreement is generally reserved for younger couples or couples who were not married for very long.”
If you are considering filing for divorce and seeking alimony in the near future, it is important that you understand the various ways your alimony request may be handled. Call The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at (732) 365-3299 or visit our firm on the web to set up a legal consultation with one of the expert divorce attorneys at our firm. We are here to provide you with expert legal advice and representation before, during, and following your divorce.