Question

How Much Alimony Do I Have To Pay In My New Jersey Divorce?

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Joseph Nitti - Family Law - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Joseph Nitti

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Answer

The amount of alimony (called “spousal support” in New Jersey) that you may be ordered to pay depends on various factors that the court will consider. Typically, the amount will be a fraction of the difference between the incomes of both spouses. Both you and your former spouse are entitled to maintain an equal standard of living as much as possible.

Understanding The Relevant Factors

A few of the 13 factors that the court considers are:

  • The incomes and assets of both spouses
  • The ages of both spouses
  • How financially dependent one spouse was on the other during the marriage
  • The health of both spouses
  • The length of the marriage
  • How federal and state taxes may impact either spouse
  • Both spouses’ contributions to the marriage

The court is obligated by law to consider each factor and determine whether it is applicable to the divorcing parties’ situation. For instance, if both spouses are in excellent health, the court does not need to take that factor into consideration when awarding alimony. However, if one of the spouses is physically disabled and prevented from earning much money, the court must take that into account.

Likewise, if you are paying child support, the amount of those payments will likely affect the amount of alimony you pay, since it will factor into your overall ability to support yourself. The court will need to consider how much money you have left over to meet your own financial needs after making your child support payments.

When You Can Stop Making Payments

Unless the judge determines that “exceptional circumstances” exist or you were married at least 20 years, you can feel reasonably confident that the length of time you pay alimony will not exceed the length of the marriage. So, if you were married for eight years, you will only have to pay alimony for a maximum of eight years. If you were married three years, you will only have to pay for a maximum of three years, and so on.

It is also likely that you can stop making payments – or at least reduce the payments – when you reach full retirement age.

In addition, if your former spouse remarries or enters into an intimate, committed relationship that mimics marriage, you can request that the court terminate your alimony obligations. This is true whether or not your former spouse is living in the same house with the new individual.

Here’s The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the amount of alimony you will be required to pay, and the length of time you will have to do so, depends on a wide array of details that are specific to your unique situation. It is always worthwhile to sit down and talk with an experienced attorney to get a more accurate picture of your financial future.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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