South Jersey Alimony Lawyers
In the State of New Jersey, there are four types of alimony:
- Pendente Lite Alimony—temporary alimony to maintain the marital status quo as the divorce proceeds
- Limited Duration Alimony—alimony for a fixed number of years after the divorce
- Open Duration Alimony—ongoing alimony to a spouse until death, remarriage or a Court Order terminating the alimony
- Rehabilitative Alimony—short-term alimony designed to enable a spouse to return to school or otherwise establish self-sufficiency
The amount and length of alimony are based upon a number of factors as developed by New Jersey case law. These factors are:
- The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;
- The duration of the marriage or civil union;
- The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
- The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other;
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;
- The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
- The parental responsibilities for the children;
- The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
- The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;
- The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;
- The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment; and
- The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any; and
- Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.
In addition to the factors above, courts must “consider the practical impact of the parties’ need for separate residences and the attendant increase in living expenses on the ability of both parties to maintain a standard of living reasonably comparable to the standard of living established in the marriage or civil union, to which both parties are entitled, with neither party having a greater entitlement thereto.”
In cases of marriages that are less than twenty years in length, unless there are “exceptional circumstances,” alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
For marriages of twenty years or more, the length of the alimony is not defined but rather is of “open duration. Open Duration alimony is subject to modification or termination at a future point in time to be determined according to the alimony statute and case law.
Retirement, cohabitation, significant changes in financial circumstances and other changes in circumstances such as a change in child support as children get older may arise after the divorce which may impact the original alimony order or agreement. Attorneys with experience need to negotiate and draft Agreements that have alimony provisions so that all bases are covered.
Orders for alimony are subject to review and modification or termination, most commonly on the basis of a significant change in the circumstances of one of the parties.
If a party wishes to make an application to the Court for a modification or termination of alimony, then that party must initially present a prima facie case of changed circumstances.
If the Court agrees that there has been a prima facie showing of changed circumstances, then the case will proceed and the other spouse will be required to disclose his or her finances. If the Court determines that there has not been a prima facie showing of changed circumstances, then the case is dismissed. The same test applies in most cases of alimony modification or termination other than retirement cases. If the supporting spouse is planning upon retiring or has already retired, then the retirement sections of the New Jersey Alimony Statute apply.
Ms. Goldstein and Ms. Mignogna have extensive experience in negotiating and, when necessary, litigating alimony issues. Ms. Goldstein worked alongside New Jersey Legislators between 2012 and 2014 when the New Jersey Alimony Statute was revamped and she testified at Legislative Hearings leading to the passage of the Amended Statute in 2014.
South Jersey Alimony Lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Have the Experience to Help You Through Various, Complex Family Law Issues
Family law issues can be difficult and emotional, but our South Jersey alimony lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. are on your side and will protect your rights. Call us at 856-890-9400 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation today and to learn more about how we can help you. Located in Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, and Gloucester County.