Divorced spouses in New Jersey and around the country receive alimony, which is also called spousal support, to help them to maintain the same kind of lifestyle that they enjoyed when they were married. Alimony is not awarded in all divorce cases, and it is usually ordered when one spouse earned significantly more than the other. The goal of alimony is to prevent divorce from having an unreasonably strong financial impact on spouses who earned modest incomes or gave up careers to raise children.
Calculating alimony in New Jersey
Family law judges in New Jersey follow a strict formula when they calculate child support, but there is no such formula to help them determine how much alimony should be paid. Instead, judges take several factors into account when they make these decisions. These factors include:
• The need for alimony
• The length of the marriage
• The standard of living the spouses enjoyed
• The incomes of the spouses
• The earning capacities of the spouses
• The age of the spouses
• The health of the spouses
• The contributions each spouse made during the marriage
Temporary and open duration alimony
When spousal support is awarded in New Jersey, it is usually paid on a temporary basis. Open duration alimony is only awarded to divorced spouses who were married for at least 20 years. When marriages lasted for less than 20 years, New Jersey law limits the duration of alimony to the length of the marriage. This means that a spouse who was married for five years cannot receive alimony for longer than five years.
An equitable outcome
The divorce laws in New Jersey are designed to produce an equitable outcome. They require marital property to be divided fairly rather than equally, and they allow alimony to be awarded to protect spouses from financial harm. New Jersey also ties the length of alimony to the duration of the marriage.