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Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a financial arrangement that allows the financially dependent spouse to receive support from the other spouse during or after a divorce. It is a critical aspect of divorce proceedings in New Jersey, and therefore, it is essential to understand the laws surrounding alimony.
Recently, New Jersey has introduced new alimony laws that have brought significant changes to the spousal support landscape. These changes have been brought about by the realization that the previous laws were outdated and inconsistent, leading to excessive litigation.
To help you understand the new laws, here is everything you need to know about alimony in New Jersey.
Types of Alimony in New Jersey
The new laws in NJ have established five different types of alimony. They include:
1. Open duration alimony: This type of alimony will have no specific end date unless stated otherwise in the agreement. The support will continue until the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient.
2. Limited duration alimony: This type of alimony has a specific end date outlined in the agreement, based on the length of the marriage. The duration of alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
3. Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony is granted as a form of financial support and helps the recipient acquire education or training necessary to gain employment and become self-sufficient in the future.
4. Reimbursement alimony: This type of alimony is granted to reimburse a spouse for financial contributions made during the marriage, such as career support and financing the other spouse’s education.
5. Bridge the gap alimony: This type of alimony is designed to provide financial support to help the recipient adjust to the post-divorce financial realities.
Factors Considered in Alimony Awards
When determining the amount and duration of alimony, New Jersey courts take into account several factors, including:
1. The length of the marriage: The duration of the spousal support can be determined by the length of the marriage.
2. The earning capacity and education of each spouse: This includes the level of education, training, and skills that each spouse possesses.
3. The age and health of each spouse: This includes the physical and mental health of the spouses at the time of the request.
4. The standard of living during the marriage: The court considers the living standards that the couple enjoyed during their marriage.
5. The contributions of each spouse during the marriage: The court considers the contributions made by each spouse during their marriage, including financial, non-financial, and homemaking contributions, among others.
Termination of Alimony
Under the revised laws, alimony can be terminated based on various reasons or circumstances. If the recipient remarries or enters a cohabitating relationship, the support can be terminated. Additionally, if the recipient’s financial status has significantly improved, if the supporting party retires or suffers a massive financial hardship, the court may modify or terminate the spousal support.
In conclusion, the significant changes to New Jersey’s spousal support laws have established clear, consistent, and objective guidelines for the awarding and termination of alimony. Understanding these new laws is beneficial to both spouses, ensuring that the alimony arrangement is fair and reflective of each spouse’s circumstances. Therefore, it is vital to engage an experienced family law attorney to help guide you through the complex legal procedures involved in spousal support in NJ.