Although this blog has discussed them before, it may be helpful to our Marlton, New Jersey, readers to review what factors a New Jersey court uses when deciding whether to award alimony and in what amount to award it.
There is actually a list of factors a court applies when deciding the amount of alimony, which may also be referred to as maintenance, it should award to either spouse. One is even a catch-all factor which allows the court to consider any special circumstances the couple might have in their unique circumstances, as alimony is ultimately determined case-by-case.
To summarize these factors, a court is going to look first of all at how much each spouse needs alimony in order to maintain his or her standard of living. Likewise, the court will also examine how much alimony the other spouse is able to pay without causing a financial hardship. The idea is to balance the needs of both spouses so that they can both, as much as possible, continue to live the lives to which they were accustomed prior to separating.
Additionally, a court will also examine a spouse’s earning potential before finalizing an alimony award. The point of alimony is to give a spouse enough financial support so he or she can get back on his or her feet; this might be easier for someone who has a lucrative career already than it would for someone who gave up a career in order to stay home with the couple’s children.
An alimony award is not something that happens automatically, and it depends on a number of things, including, to some extent, the personal thoughts and views of the local judge making the decision. For this reason, it is often best for those who have issues with alimony to get the help of an experienced New Jersey family law attorney who has experience with the local court systems.