One of the most controversial problems in divorce is alimony. Everyone believes they are entitled to it, but no one wants to pay it.
Alimony was originally designed to enable women who had put their professions on hold to support their husbands and care for their children from becoming financially impoverished. The higher-earning spouse was expected to keep paying his ex-wife until she remarried or became financially self-sufficient.
Money is frequently found to be the basis of most marital problems. Unfortunately, divorce does not resolve financial concerns and, in some cases, might exacerbate them, particularly if one spouse is financially dependent on the other. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a court-ordered financial payment made by one spouse to the other during and after the divorce process. This article will explain to you about alimony in New Jersey.
Spousal Support In NJ
If you ask for alimony, the judge can give you one of five forms of support: temporary (pendente lite), limited length, rehabilitative, reimbursement, or permanent alimony in New Jersey.
While the divorce is proceeding, pendente lite alimony is the only option. When one spouse is financially reliant on the other and needs assistance to cover living expenses during the divorce, the court will grant interim support.
In circumstances where the supported spouse requires time to become self-sufficient following the divorce, judges will issue limited-duration alimony. The court will usually include a set of support terms that the spouse must follow, or the award will be terminated.
When a dependent spouse requires financial assistance while pursuing job training or education that would lead to employment and financial independence, rehabilitative alimony is offered. The recipient must demonstrate the breadth of the rehabilitation, the steps required, and the duration of the support to the court.
Suppose one spouse financially supports the other during the marriage by helping support the other through further education and is expected to profit from the education. In that case, the court will give reimbursement alimony. If you sponsored your spouse through law school but divorced before you could gain financially from it, the court may force your spouse to repay you.
Permanent alimony is less prevalent than the others, and it is usually reserved for long-term marriages in which one spouse is unable to support themselves. Despite the designation, financial assistance is rarely permanent and only lasts as long as the beneficiary can demonstrate that financial independence is impossible.
Who Qualifies for Alimony in New Jersey
Alimony can be requested by either spouse, but the court will only award it after considering the following factors:
- The spouses’ true financial need and ability to pay.
- The duration of the union
- Age, physical, and mental health of each spouse
- The standard of living throughout the marriage and the possibility that both parties would be able to maintain a lifestyle that is substantially similar after the divorce
- Earning potential, educational levels, vocational abilities, and employability of each spouse
- Both spouses’ parental obligations and the length of time the supported spouse was out of work
- The amount of time and money required for the supported spouse to obtain education or training in order to find work, the availability of training and work, and the potential for future assets and income.
- The financial and non-financial contributions of each spouse to the marriage
- During a divorce, the equitable allocation of marital property is important.
- Income from investment assets for each spouse.
- The alimony award has tax implications for both spouses.
- Any other relevant factors as determined by the court
When it comes to alimony, the court has a lot of leeways. There is no precise method for courts to utilize when determining support, unlike child support awards. If you’re worried about the outcome of the case, you and your spouse can sit down and negotiate an alimony agreement without the involvement of a judge. You can submit your agreement to the court for evaluation and approval if you reach an agreement. The court will issue a spousal support order if the judge authorizes it.
New Jersey law clearly precludes alimony awards to a spouse convicted of murder, manslaughter, criminal homicide, aggravated assault, or a similar violation after the marriage or civil union if the perpetrator caused death or significant bodily harm to a family member of the divorcing spouse.
Duration of Spousal Support
Every divorce is unique, and the length of your alimony award is determined by the requirements of the supported spouse as well as the circumstances that led to the judge ordering alimony. When the divorce is finalized, and a new post-divorce award is created, pendente lite alimony comes to an end.
If the supported spouse remarries or joins into a civil union in New Jersey, alimony, both permanent and limited-duration, will end on the date of the remarriage or civil union. The beneficiary must immediately notify the paying spouse of the remarriage or civil union or risk paying the paying spouse attorney fees and court costs.
Rehabilitative or reimbursement alimony is not terminated by remarriage or civil union unless the couple agrees or the court finds good grounds to do so. If either spouse dies, all forms of alimony come to an end.
NJ Divorce Laws Alimony
Support payments may be ordered as a lump sum or on a regular basis by the court. Lump-sum payments are advantageous when the paying spouse is self-employed or otherwise does not receive a regular paycheck. To satisfy alimony rulings, judges can also order paying spouses to transfer ownership of marital property.
The majority of payments are made on a regular basis, usually monthly. Couples can agree on a support payment method, such as direct deposit or mailing a check, but the court will almost always add an income withholding order if they can’t. Income withholding orders direct the paying spouse’s employer to deduct alimony from the paying spouse’s paycheck and transmit it to the recipient directly. Other payment methods, such as Venmo or bank account transfers, can also be agreed upon by spouses.
If your spouse isn’t paying court-ordered alimony, you can file a request with the court for assistance in implementing the decision. Failure to comply with a court order can result in penalties, fees, bank seizures, and even prison time.
Modifying Alimony In New Jersey
Either spouse can ask the court for a modification, but only if the spouses haven’t agreed to amend the order in writing. If modification isn’t forbidden, the asking spouse must show the court that circumstances have changed since the last order or that the recipient spouse has failed to meet the court’s alimony standards.
For example, if the court orders limited-duration alimony while the couple’s children are minors, the court may alter to account for the change after one of the children reaches the age of 18.
Alimony and Taxes
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats payments of alimony in New Jersey as child support for divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019: alimony payments are no longer tax-deductible for the paying spouse’s reportable income for the recipient. Suppose your spousal support agreement and/or support order were finalized and/or received before January 1, 2019. In that case, the paying spouse could deduct alimony payments, but the supported spouse must report and pay taxes on the support. To learn how these tax changes would affect their divorce, couples should speak with an expert attorney.
A spouse may be ordered to pay alimony in various instances and may refuse to pay, fail to pay on time, and so on. If this happens, a New Jersey judge may be required to issue an enforcement order. The following are some of the ways the court can compel alimony payments: Garnishment of wages.
Alimony is a monetary payment made by one spouse to the other during a divorce proceeding or after the final order of divorce. Spousal support is payable in New Jersey during or after the dissolution of a civil union or same-sex marriage.
Many attorneys and judges in New Jersey calculate alimony by subtracting both spouses’ gross salaries and awarding the lower-income spouse about one-fourth (1/4) of the difference in incomes.
Either spouse can ask for alimony, but the court will only grant it if the following criteria are met: real need and ability to pay. the duration of the union age, and the physical and mental health of each spouse.
If the wife does not work, the court will determine the amount of alimony based on her age, educational qualifications, and ability to work. If the husband is incapacitated and unable to work while the wife is working, the court will award the husband alimony.
When it comes to how long alimony should be paid, most people agree to 1/2 of the length of the marriage for marriages of up to 10 years or so (but again, if the matter actually goes to a trial, judges are bound by the law, which says that for marriages of less than 20 years, normally a judge can order alimony for any length of time up to the length of the marriage.)