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How is Spousal Support Determined?


Upon choosing to get a divorce, most couples will choose a NJ family law attorney to handle the entire legal proceeding. For individuals obtaining a divorce in New Jersey there are some clear cut calculations which are used to determine any child support that is to be paid. But it is not that simple to determine spousal support, or alimony. NJ alimony laws offer some very general guidelines for determining how much spousal support, alimony or divorce maintenance will be applicable in any particular case. But since the two are severing their financial ties by getting a divorce it can be a very difficult calculation.

The Purpose of Spousal Support

One thing that is very important in the discussion of spousal support is that alimony laws are not a means to penalize one party or unjustly benefit the other. Instead, the idea behind spousal support is to find a balance that allows both parties to live equally for a set time after the divorce, just like it occurred before the divorce. This helps both be able to get back on their own feet and helps them become self-sufficient without starting out with a huge deficit. In some cases an individual may need to return to school in order to be employable. Alimony is set so that the individual has a chance to explore their options and become employable so that they can enjoy the earnings that were present in their married life. It all depends on the unique circumstances surrounding each situation.

13 Considerations of the Court when Determining Spousal Support

In the state of New Jersey when the court is considering whether or not to award any spousal support, they must consider 13 different influencing factors. In general the system is designed such that the court will look at the marital lifestyle and the two financial situations of the parties involved. They will consider what type of support one has the ability to pay as well as the dependent spouse’s ability to provide his/her own support. The alimony statute also states that the court has to consider 13 factors. In calculating spousal support the court will consider both party’s actual need and ability to pay, how long the individuals were in the marriage or civil union and the age, emotional and physical health of both parties involved. Courts will consider the living standard which was established in the relationship and how easily it will be for the parties to maintain a comparable standard of living. Each party’s employability, earning capacity, and job market experience will also be considered. They will also look at what types of training might be necessary to make a spouse employable; as well as the expenses that may be involved. The Courts will basically look at the financial situation from a broad spectrum and determine all the individual situations that factor in to determining how spousal support will be decided. It is imperative to speak with a NJ family law attorney about these types of situations before beginning the divorce proceedings.

NJ Law Permits 4 Types of Alimony

There are 4 different types of alimony recognized and granted in the state ofNew Jersey: limited, permanent, reimbursement, and rehabilitative. Limited alimony is for situations deem that economic assistance will be needed for a short time. It is not awarded in cases where permanent alimony would be more appropriate. The court might modify the amount of limited alimony, but not the duration. Permanent alimony will only terminate when the receiving spouse remarries.

Reimbursement alimony is often awarded for a short time to a spouse who funded the other’s educational endeavors which ended in an advanced education. This type of spousal support may be awarded separately or along with other rehabilitative or limited duration alimony. Reimbursement alimony does not terminate with remarriage unless there are other extenuating circumstances. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded by the Court based on a solid plan in which the payee can demonstrate the rehabilitative steps that must be taken to become employable. Rehabilitative alimony can be changed any time there is a change in the circumstances.

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