Hudson County Divorce Lawyer and the Alimony Updates
This guide is intended to offer insight into the different types of alimony that are available in New Jersey Family Courts and how the new law signed by Governor Chris Christie could affect new divorce cases and modifying old cases.
Forms of alimony available in New Jersey Divorce CasesThere are various forms of alimony available to people who make their case for it in New Jersey. During the divorce process, a person can seek what is called Pendente Lite Alimony which is alimony that is paid during the course of the litigation. This type of alimony is intended to maintain the status quo (keep mortgage current, pay ongoing bills, provide access to funds or pay an amount per week for food, clothes, etc). The next form of alimony is temporary of limited duration alimony which is alimony for a set period of time. This can range from 6 months to as long as 15 plus years. After limited duration alimony, there is reimbursement alimony where one spouse who assisted the other while that spouse obtained an education and so forth and there are limited assets to divide, the party that assisted the other to progress could make a claim for reimbursement alimony. The last form of alimony is permanent alimony and under the new law, it is reserved for marriages that have lasted at least twenty years.
Is alimony automatic in New Jersey for the lesser earning spouse?No. Unlike child support which is automatic, a person must make their case to obtain an alimony award from the New Jersey Divorce Courts. This is easy in some courts, harder in others. Each judge has a different perspective about alimony and about each case. Some of the key factors that go into the decision as to whether a person should receive alimony are: the length of the marriage, the incomes and/or potential income of both parties, the parental responsibilities of the parties, the length of time the dependent spouse has been out of the job market and other relevant factors.
How will the new "Christie Alimony Reform Bill" affect new divorce cases and old divorce cases in NeThe alimony reform bill that was signed by Governor Christie clearly affects how new cases and/or cases that have yet to be decided concerning alimony. For one, a person in a non-permanent alimony case cannot be ordered to pay alimony for a longer period of time than the actual marriage lasted. The period for which permanent alimony can be considered is 20 years as opposed to 10 years of marriage pre-bill. While older cases cannot be undone because the court followed the laws of that time, people can seek modifications in certain circumstances that are easier than in the past where people would be denied even after being unemployed for more than one year, this approach is much fairer.
Do I have to file for divorce to receive spousal support?No. If your spouse does not agree to support you, you can file a non-dissolution case (aka an "FD" application) for spousal support and other relief (child support, counsel fees, parenting time, etc).