If a request for alimony is made in a divorce or a civil union case, the court must weigh 14 statutory factors, which are set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b)(1-14), in order to determine what type of alimony is appropriate in a given case and how much alimony should be paid. These factors include, but are not limited to, issues such as the need and ability to pay, length of the marriage (or civil union), the age, physical and emotional health of the parties, the standard of living established during the marriage (or civil union) with the understanding that neither party is entitled to a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other party, earning capacity and employability of the parties, the length of time a party has been out of the workforce, and the parental responsibilities for children. No factor is to be elevated in importance over any other factor unless the court finds otherwise. One of the most important documents to assist the court and your attorney to prepare for seeking or opposing an alimony claim is the Case Information Statement. When completing this form with your attorney, it is very important to make sure that all of the financial information provided is accurate, complete, and up-to-date, in order to qualify for alimony.
You will not qualify for alimony if you are a person who has been convicted of murder, manslaughter, criminal homicide, or aggravated assault if (1) the crime results in death or serious bodily injury to a family member of a divorcing party; and (2) the crime was committed after the marriage or civil union. In addition, a person convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to commit murder may not receive alimony from the person who was the intended victim of the attempt or conspiracy.
Heidi Ann Lepp is a Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Warren, New Jersey and a partner with the law firm of Shimalla, Wechsler, Lepp & D’Onofrio, LLP.