Whippany Divorce Lawyers Represent Clients in Alimony Disputes
Personalized service for parties paying and receiving spousal support
If you are going through a divorce, your ability to maintain your current standard of living might be uncertain, especially when there are doubts about alimony. At Helfand & Associates, our divorce lawyers want you to start the next chapter of your life with a strong foundation, so we’re determined to pursue fair terms related to spousal support. The Alimony law is based on the principle that divorce should not unjustly enrich one party or force the other into unnecessary hardship. We thoroughly examine each party’s finances and household needs. We provide a clear view of how the court views these factors, work history, employability and other factors to build the strongest possible case for an appropriate result.
Types of alimony available in New Jersey
According to New Jersey law, the following types of alimony are available:
- Temporary — Sometimes referred to as pendente lite alimony, this is spousal support that is provided during the divorce process. The order terminates when the divorce is finalized.
- Open durational — Formerly known as permanent alimony, this type of spousal support may end upon the retirement of the payor. The presumptive age of retirement currently is 67. If the payor works longer it usually goes until the actual retirement. Circumstances where it could change before retirement are: the death of one of the spouses, the remarriage of the recipient spouse, cohabitation or a substantial change of circumstances that warrants a modification or termination of the order. This type of alimony is reserved for marriages of long duration typically 20 years or more or where a supported spouse is unable to meet their financial needs due to a disability or some other factor.
- Limited durational — For this type of spousal support, the court sets a termination date based on how long it should take for the recipient spouse to become financially self-sufficient. This is generally appropriate for marriages of intermediate duration, from 10 to 15 years.
- Rehabilitative — This type of support is designed to allow the supported spouse time to pursue the education or job training to obtain a job that meets their financial needs.
- Reimbursement — As the title implies, this type of support aims to repay one spouse for sacrifices made to further the education, professional training or career advancement of the other spouse.
Alimony is not a right, and in many cases, especially in divorces of two-career couples with comparable income, the court decides against an award. New Jersey law prohibits courts from awarding alimony to a spouse convicted of homicide or aggravated assault, if that spouse caused death or serious harm to a relative of the other spouse.
How is alimony calculated in New Jersey?
New Jersey does not provide a statutory formula for alimony, but requires judges to consider all relevant factors when deciding whether to grant alimony and, if so, what the amount and duration of payments should be. These factors include:
- The would-be recipient’s actual need and the would-be obligor’s ability to pay
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and health of the parties
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The parties’ earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills and employability
- How long it has been since the recipient has not worked outside the home
- Parental responsibilities
- Contributions to the marriage, household and parenting
- How the marital property has been distributed
- Outside sources of income
- Tax consequences
We build a comprehensive case based on all relevant facts the court should consider.
Termination and modification of alimony in New Jersey
After divorce, it may be possible to terminate or modify an alimony order based on:
- Remarriage or supportive cohabitation — If the recipient remarries or moves in with someone who supports them, there is no longer need of alimony.
- Material change in circumstances — Alimony terms can be adjusted if either party’s financial circumstances change to the point that the existing obligation is no longer fair. This might occur after a job loss, shift in medical condition or financial windfall.
- Prospective retirement — As the obligor approaches retirement, it is possible to modify the order to reflect their reduced and/or fixed income.
Even if you and your ex-spouse agree on changes to your alimony terms, rather than relying on an informal agreement that is not enforceable, it’s best to seek a formal written modification of the agreement filed with the Court system. If an agreement cannot be achieved the Court can consider and rule on the modification application.
Contact a dedicated Morris County divorce attorney for a free half-hour alimony consultation
Helfand & Associates counsels divorce clients throughout Northern New Jersey on alimony concerns. Our boutique law firm provides effective advice and advocacy to paying and recipient spouses. Call (973) 428-0800 or contact us online to schedule a free half hour consultation. We appear regularly in counties throughout New Jersey – Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Union.