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Is it common to have to pay alimony for life?

Bedminster, NJ |

I was married for 20 years and my ex-wife did not work for most of that time. We do not have children.

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Attorney answers 3


You do not give enough information to answer this question. Besides the number of years of marriage and the fact that your ex did not work most of it you have not indicated your respective ages, health issues, educational backgrounds, likelihood of her being employable in the future, your income, lifestyle you lived while together and the like. These are all factors that courts take into consideration before they decide on the extent of alimony and the amount.


Life? No. This is a term alimony receivers are starting to use in an effort to try and seek alimony for life. There is however such a thing as permanent alimony in NJ which means until death of the payor, remarriage of the payee, cohabitation of the payee or a substantially changed financial circumstance of either party "un-officially" defined as a "good faith" change in "gross" income of 20% or more by either party.


In determining an alimony award the court considers several factors including: the actual need and ability of the parties to pay, length and duration of marriage, age of the parties, physical and emotional health, standard of living established during marriage, the earning capacities of each spouse, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties, the length of absence from the job market of the party seeking alimony, the parental responsibilities for the children, the income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party, the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, and the history of the financial or non financial contributions to the marriage by each party, including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities.

In New Jersey, there are three different types of alimony: rehabilitative alimony, limited duration alimony, and permanent alimony. When the dependent spouse is of a certain age, without skills, there is a huge disparity in income or earning potential, and a spouse is unable to become independent, the court generally will award alimony on a permanent basis until death or remarriage. Likewise, when the dependent spouse is able to acquire skills to become self-supporting, the court will award rehabilitative alimony for a period of time sufficient to enable the dependent spouse to obtain the necessary skills. A Family Part Judge can order a combination of these types of alimony. Limited duration alimony is awarded, typically in marriages of short duration, and allows a spouse to live a lifestyle comparable to the one enjoyed when the parties where married. In determining the length of the term of alimony, the court will consider the length of time it would reasonably take for the recipient to improve his or her earning capacity to a level where the limited duration alimony is no longer appropriate.

Disclaimer: The information here is general and not intended to be construed as legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice contact a qualified attorney. James R. Fridie III Esq. The Fridie Law Group LLC 200 Campbell Drive, Suite 226 Willingboro, NJ 08046 (856) 505-8610 Office (856) 513-2810 Fax (609) 367-4688 Cell If you found this information helpful please click the thumbs up icon below.