Spousal Support And Alimony In NJ And NY
When a couple divorces, there are many changes that each spouse must adjust to– especially losing the benefits that comes with a dual-income household. For many couples, as the marriage comes to an end, so too does the lifestyle they once enjoyed.
Alimony, or spousal support, refers to a designated amount of money paid from one spouse to another for a specified period of time following a divorce.
One spouse pays alimony to assist in creating financial security for the other spouse helping the lower-earning or non-earning spouse to gain financial independence.
How Is Alimony Calculated?
In the state of New Jersey, there is no set formula or equation that is used to determine the amount of spousal support you may receive. Rather, the law provides a number of factors that the courts must consider when deciding if you should receive support. The amount of spousal support paid is typically based on the lifestyle, age, health and earning capacity of each party.
The law is complex with regard to these factors, and it is important to get advice of an attorney if alimony in NJ is an issue for you. Some of the factors that the courts consider are the need for support and the ability of the other person to pay it, the financial standard of living during your marriage, the length of the marriage, the parties’ job and earning ability as well as level of education, responsibilities for the children and the history of contributions that were made to the marriage. This law can be difficult to navigate, so consulting with an experienced attorney is important.
What Is The Purpose Of Alimony?
It is important to understand that alimony is generally based on need. Spousal support is not meant to unjustly enrich one party or penalize the other. The idea is to strike a balance and allow for both parties to live somewhat equally for a period of time just as they did during the marriage.
Types Of Alimony / Spousal Support in New Jersey
The court can order any of the following types of alimony (separately or in any combination):
- Open durational Alimony: this type of support is paid for as long as the recipient has a valid reason why they can’t support themselves.
- Limited duration Alimony: this usually applies to marriages that are short-term, especially when the recipient is young and employable.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: this is short-term assistance that is paid to help the recipient get training and/or education so that they can earn a reasonable income.
- Reimbursement Alimony: this is a specific monetary amount meant to pay back the spouse who supported the advanced education of the other spouse. The support could have included taking care of the family and/or paying tuition.
Can Alimony Be Modified?
Either spouse can request a modification from the court, unless at the time of their Agreement the spouses didn’t agree, in writing, not to change the Alimony. All types of alimony awards aside from reimbursement alimony are generally subject to modification after a divorce upon showing of a substantial change in circumstances. If modification isn’t prohibited, then the requesting spouse must prove to the court that, since the last order, there’s a change in circumstances or that the recipient spouse failed to meet the court’s requirements for spousal support. Payments can be modified if a substantial change in circumstances occurs, including:
Can I get alimony and child support during the separation process?
From the beginning of a separation or filing of a divorce many are concerned with how they will continue to get by financially and how they will support their children. One thing to know is that in New Jersey and New York, temporary alimony and child support may be available to you during this time.
Temporary alimony and child support can either be paid by consent of the parties through an interim agreement worked out in mediation or relief can be sought through courts. Usually the higher earning spouse to supplies some type of financial relief to the non-earning spouse or the lesser earning spouse and/or to their children. The New Jersey and New York courts view this relief as providing for a more level playing field throughout your entire divorce process. The amounts specified in this temporary alimony may not reflect the amounts ultimately agreed upon in your final divorce settlement.
Get Legal Help Understanding New Jersey Spousal Support Laws & Alimony
Whether your ex is claiming that you owe alimony or you believe that you are entitled to support, alimony proceedings will have a direct effect on your finances. It is important to speak to a local divorce lawyer in NJ to find out how New Jersey laws affect your particular situation.
Clients are often concerned about whether they are required to pay spousal support if their circumstances change. Others may not be receiving the support payments specified by the agreement and seek enforcement. An attorney can help you present evidence to the court as to why the amount you pay should be decreased, or request that the court properly enforce the agreement. Alternatively, the parties can agree in Mediation to change the terms of the Settlement Agreement.
Call Berner Law & Mediation group today to speak to experienced spousal support lawyers and schedule a time to go over your concerns during a consultation.