In recent years, New Jersey reformed its alimony laws in a manner that relates the amount of alimony to the duration of the marriage, particularly for marriages that were less than 20 years in length. As such, if a person is in a marriage that clearly is not blissful and there are disparate incomes and assets of the two spouses, he or she may want to consider what anniversary they are approaching. This factor may have an impact in terms of choice of dates to file for divorce and future alimony obligations.
Some critics argue that this newer law should have gone further to define how long alimony may last and to provide less discretion to judges. However, it clearly added a stronger component related to limiting the duration of alimony to more closely reflect the length of the marriage.
For many marriages now, in particular those that have not hit the 20-year mark, alimony duration may not exceed the length of a marriage. Thus, for two people who marry at the age of 23 and who divorce 19 years later at the age of 42, the maximum length of alimony obligation would be 19 years. The obligor spouse would finish by the time he is 62, at the most. Keep in mind that that is a maximum, not a set time period, and other relevant factors can curb that time to a much shorter period. For instance, a lower income spouse potentially due alimony may receive it for a shorter period because that spouse may have education and credentials that allows him or her to increase potential earnings in a relatively short period of time.
The filing date for a divorce has always had many other implications in high-income or -asset marriages that can affect the future finances of the parties, including those concerning valuation of assets. However, it is just one of many considered judgments that you must make when contemplating divorce.
If avoiding a possible lifetime of significant alimony payments following a high-income marriage is an important consideration, addressing it sooner rather than later may mean a huge difference in finances later.