FAQs about Alimony in New Jersey
This guide offers information about alimony in New Jersey as of 2017 by New Jersey Divorce Attorney Santo Artusa.
How is Alimony Calculated in New Jersey?Alimony is based on the marital lifestyle led by the parties during the marriage. For that reason, you cannot simply input numbers into a calculator and an alimony award will be calculated. If parties cannot agree, the court will look to the income of both parties or imputed income, the costs of the household (mortgage, rent, utilities, cars), entertainment, assets, debts, etc.
How Long Is the Alimony Period?In the majority of cases for marriages under twenty years the maximum term for alimony in New Jersey is the length of the marriage. Above twenty years, a Judge could order open ended alimony which can be revisited upon retirement, etc. So for example, if the parties are married 12 years, 12 years would be the maximum but rarely do New Jersey divorce judges order the maximum. In fact many order slightly more than half the term.
What are the Factors in Determining Alimony in New Jersey?In determining the term of alimony and amount, the Court will consider the following factors:
(1)The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;
(2)The duration of the marriage or civil union;
(3)The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
(4)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;
(5)The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;
(6)The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
(7)The parental responsibilities for the children;
(8)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;
(9)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;
(10) 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;
(11) The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;
(12) 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;
(13) The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any; and
(14) Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.
What is the Difference Between Alimony and Child Support?Child support is based on a structured calculation and is non-taxable. Alimony is based on the circumstances of the parties and is taxable income to the receiver and tax deductible to the payor.
Is Alimony Paid in Every Divorce Case in New Jersey Where One Spouse Earns More?No. Alimony is not automatic. Parties can agree to waive alimony and if they do not, the party seeking alimony must make a case in front of the Judge who will then decide if alimony should be awarded.