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Blogs from March, 2024

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When partners decide to part ways, the financial fallout can be complex. New Jersey courts weigh several factors when deciding on spousal support.

This blog helps reveal how New Jersey’s spousal support decisions come about.

Understanding New Jersey Spousal Support Laws

The New Jersey Statutes Annotated (N.J.S.A.) lays out the conditions and stipulations for spousal support awards. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation. The statute demands that judges consider each divorce case separately. The goal is to keep alimony awards fair.

Spousal support is not an automatic right. A spouse must prove that they will require financial help after the divorce.

The courts meticulously review each case, and they consider various factors such as:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Work histories and earning potential
  • Each spouse’s current financial standing
  • The age and health of the parties involved

Types of Alimony in New Jersey

In New Jersey, alimony takes on various forms. Each is designed to accommodate different needs.

Open durational alimony is designed for long-term marriages. This spousal support can last indefinitely, depending on the receiver’s needs.

Rehabilitative alimony is a short-term measure. It helps the recipient to gain the necessary skills or education to become self-sufficient.

Limited duration alimony is awarded for a set period. This support is often used when short marriages end.

Reimbursement alimony compensates a spouse. It is for someone who made financial sacrifices that benefited the other spouse's education or career.

The Ability to Pay and the Need for Support

Alimony hinges on the paying spouse's ability to pay and the receiving spouse's need for support. Spousal support decisions involve a thorough examination of both spouses’ incomes, assets, and earning capacities. The need for support is not about who earns more. It is a comprehensive assessment of financial health and potential. Alimony rulings should always be reasonable and sustainable.

The courts may consider variables such as education and job skills. It will also consider the time it will take for the receiving spouse to become self-supporting.

Calculating the Amount and Duration of Support

New Jersey does not have a strict formula for calculating alimony. Instead, the courts use general guidelines to make sure rulings are fair. The courts are tasked with crafting an alimony award that is equitable. They should not punish the payer or be too small for the receiver. Ultimately, the goal is to help the receiver become self-sufficient whenever possible.

However, you should know that New Jersey gives courts a wide amount of discretion in spousal support rulings. Each case is unique. Courts have their guidelines, but they must also calibrate their rulings to each situation. Alimony should reflect the specifics of the marriage and divorce.

Modifying or Terminating Alimony

State law recognizes that significant life changes may justify spousal support modifications.

You can ask for support modifications if you’ve experienced the following:

  • An injury or illness that has significantly impacted your finances
  • A semi-permanent change in your finances that is not your fault
  • The receiving spouse is remarried or cohabitating with a new partner.
  • The receiving spouse makes significantly more money and no longer needs as much support.

Modifying or terminating alimony requires proof of your change in circumstance. The court will carefully look at your evidence. It wants to make sure the changes are permanent, and you are not merely reacting to a temporary or minor change. Working with a skilled attorney can help you convince the court that your request has merit.

The Impact of Marital Fault on Alimony Decisions

Marital fault, such as adultery or abuse, may not directly affect a spousal support ruling. If, however, the marital misconduct was related to finances, this bad behavior could affect alimony. For instance, if one spouse squandered marital assets, the court may give greater support to the receiving spouse.

Spousal Support in High Net Worth Divorces

High net worth divorces bring an additional layer of complexity to alimony rulings. When substantial assets, businesses, or high incomes are involved, the stakes are inherently higher, and calculating fair spousal support becomes more intricate. The valuation of assets, the liquidity of investments, and the impact on lifestyle all come under scrutiny.

There are essentially two goals in this situation. For one, the court wants an alimony agreement that reflects both parties’ financial realities. Next, the division of wealth and ongoing support must be equitable and sustainable, and it should keep both parties within their accustomed lifestyle.

DeTommaso Law Group, LLC is here to help with spousal support. Perhaps you are worried about spending too much, or you are concerned about not receiving enough. Either way, we can help make sure rulings are equitable and reasonable. You can reach us by calling (908) 274-3028 or contacting us online.

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