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What is alimony?

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2021 | family law |

New Jersey couples going through a divorce may have heard of alimony before and have questions about how it will impact them. Alimony includes court-ordered payments from one former spouse to the other after the divorce is finalized.

There are many reasons that the court might order alimony payments. Alimony might not be ordered if both spouses make similar incomes or the marriage is rather new. However, alimony might be ordered if the marriage lasted for several years and one spouse makes more money than the other.

How much is alimony?

The amount of alimony you’ll have to pay is determined by several factors. Alimony payments typically depend on:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Current and future potential incomes for both spouses
  • Expenses of both spouses

Alimony payments might be higher for a spouse who was a full-time homemaker and parent or didn’t work due to the other spouse’s job. Other things like assets, career prospects and investments will also impact alimony payments for the spouse who makes less.

How long does alimony last?

Alimony can be temporary or permanent depending on the cause of the divorce. For long-term marriages, alimony often payments last until the death of one spouse or until remarriage.

Payments can also be a temporary, short-term solution while the lower-earning spouse gets on their feet. Alimony payments can look very different depending on the divorce, such as one spouse paying for the other’s attorney fees during the divorce or being awarded in a lump-sum.

Every divorce is different, so there’s no telling right away if a spouse is eligible for alimony or not. It’s important to consider the impact that each spouse had on the divorce as well as the ability of each spouse to support themselves independently after the marriage is over.