Alimony or Spousal Support

Alimony and Spousal Support Attorney

Just about everyone has some perception about the meaning of alimony or spousal support. In fact, some hold off divorcing their spouses because they fear they will not be able to make it on their own. Meanwhile, there are also those who consider alimony an antiquated obligation.

First, several are under the misconception that alimony is gender related. However, spousal support is not premised on the needs of a woman or a man. Instead, financial support has an express purpose. Married couples become accustomed to a certain standard of living. An award of alimony seeks to maintain those levels – thus, giving both parties a more equal chance of survival.

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Different Types of Alimony

The laws regarding spousal support changed substantially in the last decade. There are currently five different types of alimony available in New Jersey:

Pendente Lite Alimony

This is a temporary alimony award during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. It permits the spouse in need to secure some monetary payments in order to survive.

Open Durational Alimony

Spouses married more than twenty years may be required to pay – or will receive – spousal support for an openperiod of time. The award is based on the earnings or potential earnings of the lower-earning spouse and the anticipated standard of living of both partners.

Limited Duration Alimony

For couples married less than twenty years,the court may also order alimony payments. The basis for Limited Duration Alimony is similar to that for recipients of Open Durational Alimony. That said, time limitations may not exceed the length of the marriage.

Rehabilitative Alimony​

Rehabilitative alimony allocates payments for specified periods in order that the dependent spouse may secure training or education that will expand income opportunities. In some circumstances, the spouse with higher earnings may be court-ordered to pay for the advanced training.

Reimbursement Alimony

In marriages where one spouse was instrumental in the other spouse’s educational or career advancement, the dependent spouse may receive reimbursement for contributions. This type of alimony is more prevalent in short term marriages where the division of assets represents limited monetary advantages.

Modification of Alimony Orders

With the exception of rehabilitative alimony, support orders are subject to modification. In fact, alimony may be terminated in situations where the recipient has remarried or cohabiting with someone else. The definition of cohabitation is something you may wish to discuss with an experienced family law attorney.

In the meantime, other events may constitute a change in circumstances and would justify going back to court for post-judgment consideration. These include but is not limited to disability, retirement, non-voluntary loss of a job or near permanent reduction in income.