New Jersey Divorce: Spousal Support
At Tournour Law, we focus exclusively on family-related legal problems. With an office in East Brunswick, our divorce lawyer, Frank Tournour, regularly counsels clients on spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony.
What Is Alimony?
Going through a divorce proceeding can be an expensive and time-consuming process, and there are many issues to consider. In order to offset some of the financial costs associated with divorce, family courts have established a system of spousal support called alimony. Alimony is financial assistance paid by one spouse to the other to help him or her through the divorce and into the future. Alimony is typically awarded whenever one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other. Most often, one spouse is ordered to pay alimony in situations where the other spouse has served as a homemaker and caregiver to the children.
There are no established laws in New Jersey that govern the allocation of spousal support, leaving the amount awarded widely up to the discretion of family court judges. In some cases, taxation of payments may apply. Spousal maintenance or alimony is also considered separately from child support calculations.
Different Types Of Alimony In New Jersey
New Jersey law currently provides for four types of alimony:
Permanent alimony is paid by one spouse to the other until the occurrence of a pre-specified event. Examples of such events include the dependent spouse’s remarriage or involvement in a relationship tantamount to a marriage. During the divorce, the spouses are allowed to specify what events or circumstances will terminate the payment of alimony.
In general, permanent alimony is awarded following the dissolution of a long-term marriage or one in which either spouse is largely dependent on the other for financial support. Certain changes in the income of either spouse may be invoked to seek an adjustment in the amount of alimony owed.
Rehabilitative alimony is designed to help the dependent spouse become self-sufficient. In order to qualify for rehabilitative alimony, the applicant must develop and submit a plan for his or her rehabilitation. Spousal support of this type usually continues until the recipient is fully rehabilitated, whether or not he or she has remarried.
If someone has financially supported their spouse through an advanced education with the expectation of benefiting from the spouse’s future earning potential, the supporting spouse may be entitled to reimbursement alimony. The amount of reimbursement alimony awarded is determined by how much money was spent to support the spouse through his or her education, rather than by the spouse’s anticipated earnings.
Limited Duration Alimony
As its name implies, limited duration alimony is paid only for a specific period of time. This form of alimony is typically awarded following the dissolution of a brief marriage. New Jersey currently does not allow lump sum alimony, a type of alimony in which the spouse receives all of his or her support in the form of one lump sum payment.
Enforcement And Modification Of Alimony
Following a divorce, it is sometimes necessary to arrange a court hearing in order to enforce the payment of alimony. If you live in or around East Brunswick and are owed alimony by your former spouse, our attorney can provide you with the representation necessary to hold your ex accountable and recover the compensation to which you are entitled.
We can also help you if you’ve been ordered to pay alimony but have undergone a change in your living situation since your divorce. A family court may reduce the amount of alimony you owe if:
- You have experienced a significant decline in health
- You have suffered long-term unemployment or a substantial decrease in your income
- Your spouse has experienced a substantial increase in his or her income
There are many other reasons for which a New Jersey court may adjust the amount of alimony you owe. Through a personal consultation, our family lawyer can determine whether a modification hearing is in your best interests.
Questions About Alimony Or Spousal Support? Reach Out Today.
With more than 30 years of family law experience, our attorney at Tournour Law can answer your questions about spousal support and help ensure that your alimony dispute is resolved in a fair and reasonable manner. Contact us today at 732-913-3634 or email us to schedule an initial consultation.