Many divorces in New Jersey will include a claim by one spouse or the other for alimony, also known as “spousal support.” However, many people do not know the basics about alimony and how it might be ordered as part of a divorce decree.
For starters, any claim for alimony must be supported by verifiable evidence that such payments are actually needed. The reason alimony would be ordered is due to an economic disadvantage that one spouse might suffer over the other due to the end of the marriage. For instance, spouses asking for alimony might need to explain how their financial situation will be negatively affected by the divorce. Will they need to get a new job? Do they need to learn new skills to get a new job? Does a prenuptial agreement limit the assets that the spouse will have once the divorce is final? These, among other factors, might all be considerations in the court’s decision about whether to award alimony.
If the decision is made that alimony should be awarded, then it will be necessary to determine how much alimony will be awarded and for how long the payments will be made. In making this decision, the court will likely evaluate the length of the marriage, the spouses’ standard of living during the marriage and the age and financial status of each spouse, among other considerations.
Lastly, one of the basic facts about alimony is simple to overlook: it can be awarded to the husband or wife. In the past, alimony was traditionally more often awarded only to the wife. This trend, however, is changing as society changes.