One of the hardest parts of ending a marriage is figuring out the finances. The end to every marriage looks different when it comes to finances and usually there is not a cookie cutter way to get it figured out. In some cases, both spouses moved up the career ladder in much the same way and ended the marriage making roughly the same salary. Many other times, one spouse put their career on hold to support their partners’ professional development. It is in cases like this where alimony, also referred to as spousal support, comes into play.
If you believe alimony is something that should be part of your divorce, it will help you to get a basic understanding of how alimony works. Just like most matters around family law, state law governs alimony. If you are considering spousal support, paying or receiving, you may be asking:
- How will alimony be determined?
- Are there different types?
- How long will alimony last?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you should have a better idea on how alimony may impact your divorce.
How will alimony be determined?
There are a number of situations when alimony may be granted. The most common ones are when one spouse is employed and the other does not work or when one spouse has an income from a job that is significantly higher than the other spouse. If a ruling from the court determines alimony should be provided, then several factors will be considered to determine the appropriate amount. Generally, there is an attempt to enable both parties to continue the lifestyle they had while married.
Are there different types?
There are four different types of alimony in New Jersey: limited duration, open duration, reimbursement and rehabilitative. At one point, there was a designation called permanent alimony, but now open duration has replaced it. Open duration means the support will not be permanent but will be open ended based on the needs of the spouse receiving it. Limited duration sets alimony payments to be provided for a set period of time. Reimbursement alimony is used to repay one spouse who gave support financially to the other spouse who received education or training. Rehabilitative alimony is provided to receive education or training to enter the workforce.
How long will alimony last?
With the new designations of alimony listed above, it is no longer provided permanently. If you are in a divorce that would have previously received alimony permanently, it is likely it would now receive the open duration agreement. Generally, the time one spouse can receive alimony payments cannot be longer than the duration of the marriage. Exceptions to this would be the health of one of the spouses and whether one spouse put a career on hold to support their partner.
One of the biggest concerns when someone is going through a divorce is how their financial future will play out. Alimony is one of the factors that can determine this.