Alimony & Spousal Support
Morris County Alimony Attorney
Working to safeguard your financial future
Alimony can be a hotly contested issue during and after a divorce in New Jersey. Let’s face facts: no one likes to talk about money and the fear is that divorce will endanger their financial future.
Our divorce lawyers at Jacobs Berger, LLC, offer a communicative and constructive approach to working through difficult issues like alimony (also known as “spousal support”).
We aim to help clients peaceably resolve these issues—but we’re prepared to defend our client’s financial future (and present) when needed.
Alimony is money paid by one spouse to another after—and sometimes during (see below)—a divorce or dissolution of a civil union (which is treated the same as a divorce in New Jersey).
The purpose of alimony is to make sure that the financial consequences of divorce don’t overwhelmingly fall on one spouse. Instead, alimony aims to ensure that both people can continue a standard of living similar to what they had during the marriage.
The Court of New Jersey doesn’t have a detailed formula for calculating alimony the way it does with child support.
Depending on many factors, including the length of the marriage, alimony in a divorce agreement can be calculated to stay the same, decrease over time, or end after a certain number of years. (See our FAQs below for more details.)
Circumstances sometimes change after the court or mediation process is complete and the final divorce agreement has been signed. In these instances, alimony may need to be modified, reduced, or ended.
Typically, the need for change occurs when one person goes through a pronounced alteration of their financial circumstances, such as in the following situations:
- A significant and involuntary reduction in income
- A significant increase in income
- Business bankruptcy
- An illness or injury that reduces earning capacity
- Increased cost of living
To modify, reduce, or end an alimony agreement, the person seeking the change must typically prove that a financial shift has occurred.
At the law office of Jacobs Berger, LLC, our alimony attorneys have substantial experience helping clients across the greater Morris County, New Jersey area and beyond to effectively resolve their alimony agreements and alimony modification petitions.
Enforcement of Alimony Obligations
An alimony agreement or obligation confers a legal right to payments and is often based on a very real financial need.
If you aren’t receiving your alimony payments, either in full or at all—or if the payments aren’t being made on time—you may need to work with an alimony attorney to petition the court to intervene.
While the experience of not receiving payments you’re counting on may be frustrating or even frightening, it’s important to understand that you have legal recourse. Our divorce and family law attorneys have extensive experience in helping clients ensure their financial security with alimony enforcement.
Temporary Alimony During Divorce
While the final alimony agreement or court order has long-term impacts, temporary alimony can help a supported spouse maintain a similar standard of living to what existed during the marriage.
It’s crucial not to lose your current economic security during a divorce by paying too much or by not receiving spousal support while continuing to meet your financial obligations.
If temporary alimony, also known as “pendente lite support,” becomes necessary during your divorce process—or you believe it’s being unreasonably asked of you—then it’s highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a matrimonial law or family law attorney.
At Jacobs Berger, LLC, we’ll thoroughly investigate the components of your unique situation and work towards a temporary (and final) alimony agreement that best meets your needs.
Termination of Alimony
The overarching purpose of alimony is to maintain the economic status quo from the marriage. However, the status quo at the time of divorce can change significantly over the next several years.
In certain situations, alimony may be modified or terminated.
New Jersey courts don’t have the same standardized decision-making factors for alimony that they do for child support. Because of this, alimony termination requests are very much considered on a case-by-case basis.
That said, there are certain circumstances that are commonly considered in requests for alimony termination (though some may be more appropriate for alimony modification), including:
- A loss or significant reduction to the supporting spouse’s income
- A substantial gain to the supported spouse’s income
- A new illness or disability that prevents someone from earning at their previous rate
- Forced unemployment or underemployment
- If the supported spouse remarries
In recent years, New Jersey courts have started considering cases where the supported spouse cohabits with a new partner—in a manner similar to being remarried—as a reason for terminating alimony.
Finally, in the unfortunate circumstance where a payor or payee dies, alimony will generally be terminated. Exceptions can occur with certain Marital Settlement Agreements (MSAs) that use life insurance to ensure continued alimony or child support payments or that obligate the estate of the payor to continue support obligations to the payee.
The experienced alimony attorneys at our law firm have handled many alimony termination cases and understand how to work with the highly individualized and fact-based nature of these matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Alimony is awarded to prevent one spouse from experiencing a severe economic change as the result of a divorce. In Morris County and New Jersey, the courts don’t have a set formula for calculating alimony.
Different circumstances merit different kinds of alimony. Here’s what you need to know about the main types.
Limited duration alimony
- This type of alimony is awarded for a specific period of time, typically until the recipient can be self-supporting or their need for support diminishes.
- It’s often awarded in short- or medium-duration marriages.
- It can be modified if the payor or payee experiences a significant change in financial circumstances.
- Rehabilitative alimony is awarded for a set period so that the recipient can gain training or education to return to work.
- This kind of alimony gives someone time to find a job and work their way up to the earning rate they might have had if they had not left the workforce to raise kids.
- This type of alimony is used in situations where one spouse made economic sacrifices or used non-marital funds to support the other’s education or training.
- Reimbursement alimony is awarded for a set period of time.
- Permanent alimony is most commonly used for long marriages where the supported spouse is unlikely to gain any form of financial independence.
- It can be modified if either person experiences a significant change in financial circumstances.
- This is the type of alimony awarded during the divorce process.
- Temporary alimony allows the supported spouse to meet their financial obligations while the divorce or dissolution of the civil union is ongoing.
- It’s also known as “pendente lite support.”
Financial stability after marriage is important for individuals and families with children. Our alimony attorneys offer skilled advice and representation to help you gain firm economic footing during and after your divorce. We know divorce and money issues are unpleasant, but we’re prepared to help protect your financial future.
Alimony aims to maintain the economic status quo from a marriage. While New Jersey courts don’t have set guidelines for determining alimony, there are certain circumstances that inform negotiations in mediation and court decisions.
The following factors are taken into account when determining alimony:
- The need and ability of each party to pay
- The financial age and physical and emotional health of each party
- The earning capacity, education, training, vocational skills, and employment opportunities of both parties
- The length of the marriage or civil union
- The length of absence from the job market of the person seeking payments to be made to them
- The supporting spouse’s ability to pay
- The standard of living established during the marriage, and the ability of both parties to maintain this standard
- Parental responsibilities, both during and after the marriage
- The time and cost for the supported party to re-enter the workforce through education and training
- The history of marital contributions made by the supported party to the marriage
- Terms of the division of assets settlement
- Income available through any investment of assets by either party
- The tax consequences of any alimony award
- Additional factors the court deems relevant to the particular case
The amount of weight that each or any of these factors has in determining alimony isn’t preset by any state guidelines. Because of this, alimony—whether decided through mediation or litigation—is one of the areas of divorce where your attorney can have a significant impact.
We highly recommend having an experienced alimony attorney on your side.
Contact an experienced alimony attorney today!
The experienced Morris County alimony attorneys at Jacobs Berger, LLC, have many years of experience in resolving alimony agreements and modifications.
We’re prepared to listen closely to all of your concerns—whether you’re worried about receiving the financial support you need after your divorce or being unable to meet your own financial needs after paying alimony.
Our alimony attorneys have extensive experience working with clients to effectively and fairly resolve their alimony agreements—while minimizing the stress normally associated with this process.
Our experienced alimony attorneys can help protect your financial future. Contact us to schedule a strategic planning session.