Does New Jersey have Alimony?
Yes. Alimony or spousal support may be awarded to either spouse for their support after the divorce. Alimony payments are designed to help with financial obligations of the receiving spouse and to maintain a lifestyle similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. The lifestyle cannot remain exactly the same given that the paying spouse typically has to maintain two households for a period of time.
How is spousal support or alimony paid or distributed?
There are several factors to be considered based upon current laws:
- The advantages and disadvantages of lump-sum settlement.
- The amount of such payment and the method it will be paid (cash, property).
- Will it be paid in installments?
- Conditions attached to paying and receiving (disability, death, remarriage, cohabitation).
- Terms arranged to provide enforcement measures.
- Tax effects of proposed arrangements.
- The effects of will and inheritances.
What are the risks involved?
There is always some risk involved with actually getting paid all of the court ordered payments. The factors that often lead to these risks are:
- Incapacitation through illness.
- Payment withheld as punishment, due to another order violation.
- Refusal to pay.
What is fair spousal support/alimony?
Issues in divorce have a tendency to create conflict, and spousal support is at the top of the list. Not all divorce cases are appropriate for the payment of spousal support. Your lawyer will assist you in determining whether your case is appropriate for alimony or not.
If you and your spouse cannot come to agreement on the amount of spousal support to be paid, for what length of time, and under what conditions, then the court will decide this for you. A word of advice: letting the court decide will only cost more money and will add an element of surprise that can oftentimes be financially and emotionally traumatic. Also keep in mind that not all divorces include spousal support agreements.
If possible, take the time to attempt to agree on the spousal support arrangements. The arrangements will be part of your Marital Settlement Agreement and the following is typically defined:
- The support amount to be paid.
- How often it will be paid and when.
- Where the support payments are to be mailed.
- The social security number of the receiving spouse.
- Insurance Policies & Medical Coverage.
- Future Conditions (for example: if spouse remarries).
- Payment Assurance.
- Recourse if payments are not made.
A fair amount is typically what would allow the spouse to continue living in a similar fashion that existed prior to the divorce.
The payment of support may also be conditioned upon agreed upon circumstances:
- The spouse may only receive the support payments until job training or education is achieved.
- The spouse may only receive the support payments as long as they have not remarried.
As an alternative to making several support payments over a lengthy period of time, spouses will oftentimes agree on a Lump-Sum Agreement, in which the receiving spouse is paid one larger sum of money at one time and it is considered a final payment.
Rosanne DeTorres, co-founder of DeTorres & DeGeorge, LLC, is NJ Supreme Court certified as a Matrimonial Law Attorney. Choosing a Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney assures you the most effective representation. Ms. DeTorres concentrates her family law practice on divorce, custody, child support and alimony.