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Will I Have to Pay Alimony or Spousal Support?

Alimony and spousal support

Whether you will have to pay alimony in New Jersey depends on the circumstances of your divorce. Alimony or spousal support is not awarded in all New Jersey divorce cases. 

In particular, if both parties have comparable incomes and other financial resources, it is not likely to be awarded. However, alimony is common in New Jersey divorce cases in which one spouse has significantly lower earning power than the other or no earning power at all. 

These are just some of the considerations when it comes to whether and how much alimony is awarded. It is important to work with an experienced attorney who can protect your financial interests and ensure that any alimony or spousal support awarded is fair.

Rosenblum Law has helped many New Jersey clients obtain alimony, avoid paying alimony, or come to a reasonable alimony agreement. Experienced attorneys can help clients navigate the complexities of alimony. Read on to learn more about what alimony is, how it is determined, and how an attorney can help. 

What is Alimony?

Alimony in New Jersey (called spousal support in some other states) involves payments made from one ex-spouse to another after a divorce or legal separation.

The primary purpose of alimony is to ensure that both spouses can live as close as possible to the same standard of living that they had during the marriage. When one spouse has significantly higher earnings than the other, alimony helps ensure that both parties are on equal financial footing.

Types of Alimony in New Jersey

The five types of alimony in New Jersey are:

  • Temporary Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded early in the divorce process, and is paid by one spouse to the other while the result of the divorce is pending. This alimony automatically terminates once a divorce is finalized. 
  • Limited Duration Alimony: Limited-duration alimony is awarded for a set time, during which it is expected that the person receiving the alimony will improve their own financial standing. 
  • Permanent Alimony (also referred to as Open Duration alimony): Permanent alimony is awarded in divorces in which the marriage lasted more than 20 years. 
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony is meant to help finance vocational rehabilitation for spouses who have been out of the workforce during the marriage. It can also be used to improve the career options and financial standing of one spouse who earns significantly less than the other. 
  • Reimbursement Alimony: Rehabilitative alimony is awarded as reimbursement when one spouse significantly contributed to the advanced education or career of the other. 

Limited-duration alimony and rehabilitative alimony can be extended in some cases if the spouse receiving support has not improved their circumstances as expected. Reimbursement alimony is typically a set amount for a set period of time.

Alimony can also end if the payor opts to retire at the standard retirement age, or if the payee is found to cohabitate with a romantic partner.

Factors Determining Alimony in New Jersey

The factors determining alimony in New Jersey are laid out in Section 2A:34-23. These factors include:

  • The parties’ actual needs and ability to pay
  • The duration of the marriage or civil union
  • The parties’ age and physical and emotional health 
  • The standard of living established during the marriage and the likelihood that the parties can continue living at that standard
  • The earning capacities, educational level, vocational skills, and employability of the parties
  • The length of absence from the job market of the spouse seeking support
  • Parental responsibilities for any children from the marriage
  • The time and expense to get the education necessary to improve employability
  • The history of the financial and non-financial contributions of the parties, including child care and interruption of careers or educational opportunities
  • Equitable distribution of property
  • The income available to either party through investment of assets held by that party
  • The nature, amount, and length of any temporary alimony paid before the divorce proceedings
  • Any other factors the court may deem relevant.

The court must take all factors into consideration but can determine that some factors are less relevant than others. Not all factors will be present in every case. 

The Role of Mediation in Alimony Disputes

Mediation is a great tool for resolving alimony disputes. Mediation is when a mediator, or neutral third party, guides both parties through the process of reaching an agreement, allowing both parties to be heard and a negotiation to be reached outside of court. Settling outside of court reduces the time and cost of divorce. 

Attorneys facilitate mediation by representing their client’s best interests during negotiations. Divorce and alimony decisions can be emotionally trying, but an attorney can keep emotions from getting in the way of the proceedings by being objective, and keeping the focus on the facts of the case.

Alimony and Tax Considerations

As of 2019 under IRS rules, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible, and alimony received no longer counts as taxable income. This means that the person paying alimony is the one paying income tax on those amounts. 

An attorney can discuss ways to limit the tax burden for alimony payments and help facilitate an appropriate alimony settlement that takes these taxes into account.

How Can an Attorney Assist?

An experienced divorce attorney can navigate the complexities of alimony, advocate for a fair and legal alimony settlement, and protect their client’s interests.

Negotiations are a key component of determining alimony matters, and an experienced attorney can help couples come to an out-of-court settlement. Legal strategies tailored to individual circumstances are another way that attorneys can help with this process.

In certain situations, a party can request a modification of alimony if circumstances have changed that warrant an adjustment to the existing agreement. Lastly, an attorney can assist in the enforcement of alimony after the divorce has been settled.


How is alimony determined in New Jersey?

There is no set formula for determining alimony in New Jersey. However, a good rule of thumb used by attorneys is 20-25% of the net difference between the incomes of each former spouse.

At what age do you stop paying alimony?

Alimony is no longer required to be paid once the paying spouse reaches retirement age, meaning the age at which they become eligible for Social Security benefits. Currently, this is 67 years of age.

Does alimony stop if my spouse moves in with someone else?

Cohabitation stops alimony in New Jersey. Cohabitation is defined as living with someone in a close personal relationship in which the two parties are financially dependent. 

Does it matter who filed for divorce first when it comes to paying alimony?

No. Filing for divorce first does not necessarily mean that you won’t have to pay alimony.

Do I have to pay both alimony and child support?

New Jersey law states that both parents have a financial obligation to support their children. Child support is calculated using the Shared Income Model, which uses the net income of each parent to make a decision. Even if alimony is awarded, child support is separate and much more likely than alimony.

Can the spouse receiving alimony reject the money in New Jersey?

Even if alimony is awarded by a judge, the receiving spouse can reject the alimony. This is most common when alimony is not needed due to the spouse having their own income. However, unless a party rejects the alimony, both parties are legally obligated to follow the terms of their alimony agreement and pay their former spouse the decided amount.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Rosenblum Law

Alimony in New Jersey is a complex matter. The process can be much easier with the assistance of an experienced, capable attorney. 

Rosenblum’s divorce lawyers have decades of experience and offer free consultations for alimony cases. We will provide you with professional guidance that is important for ensuring your needs are heard and you receive an equitable outcome. Contact us today via our website or at 973-750-9556 to schedule your free consultation, and one of our attorneys will help you determine the next steps to take in your alimony case. 

Alimony and spousal support
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