Cost of Living Adjustment Clause

Cost of Living Adjustment Clause in a Child or Spousal Support Order Attorneys

When going through the divorce process, there is a myriad of factors that must be taken into consideration to ensure that you receive your fair share of the marital assets and that any support you receive after a divorce will sustain you as is needed through time.

How is Spousal Support Determined in New Jersey?

Including a Cost of Living Adjustment Clause in your Child Support or Spousal Support OrderIn New Jersey, spousal support – also called alimony  – could be awarded to one partner in the case that they are financially unable to maintain their marital lifestyle as a result of the divorce. In the case that the court grants one party alimony, this financial support falls under certain structures and abides by such laws as a determination that support may not be required for longer than the length of the marriage itself. The four types, or structures, of alimony in New Jersey, are

Open Durational Alimony

Open durational alimony is financial support awarded to a spouse which includes an open-ended time frame. It is generally awarded to spouses separating from a long-term marriage who have little to no likelihood of maintaining their marital standard of living, due to the fact that they were homemakers or stay-at-home parents for many years. Even given a past that includes higher education or a professional career, their absence from the job market will have a damaging effect on their capacity to secure a job that will deliver them to a standard of living equitably to the marriage that is ending.

Limited Durational Alimony 

Limited durational alimony is financial support awarded to a spouse which includes a limit on its term. This type of alimony is generally awarded to spouses who are likely to be self-sufficient in the near term, given their education or professional standing.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is spousal support that is paid while the receiving spouse undergoes the training and education necessary to be able to secure a job that would lead to self-sufficiency.

Reimbursement Alimony

How is Child Support Determined in New Jersey?Reimbursement alimony is repayment for the financial and other sacrifices one spouse made in order to support the educational and professional advancement of the other spouse. For example, a spouse who worked to put the other through law school, expecting to share in the fruits of that labor, is entitled to receive reimbursement alimony.

In New Jersey, the monetary amount of alimony is determined by the court using a number of factors. These factors include one’s age and their ex-spouse’s age, the total time they were married, one’s responsibilities as a parent and the effects on their capacity to enter the workforce, one’s earnings and their spouse’s earnings – as well as one’s capacities for earning future income due to their age, education, and training. These and other benchmarks are used to determine whether alimony will be ordered, and how much will be required to be paid on a monthly basis.

How is Child Support Determined in New Jersey?

A parent will be required to pay child support if the other parent has sole custody of the child or, in some cases, if the two parents have joint custody. The court determines how much child support a parent will be required to pay using a number of considerations:


As noted, parents whose ex has sole legal and physical custody of the child will be required to pay child support. A parent with joint custody may be required to pay child support as well; the less time a parent spends with their child according to their custody arrangement and parenting time agreement, the more financial support the parent will have to provide, generally speaking.


Income plays a large role in determining how much monthly child support the parent will be ordered to pay. The judge will generally require that they pay a certain percentage of their monthly gross income after reviewing income tax and other documents that determine what that income is.


The number of children for whom the parent must pay child support affects the amount of financial support they must provide for each child. Parents with more dependents generally pay less monthly in child support.

Child Care Expenses

Ongoing child care and medical expenses will factor into the amount a judge will order paid monthly for child support.

The Cost of Living Adjustment Clause

Because conditions often change throughout time – the income of one or both ex-spouses changes, and the financial needs of a child develop, for example –  including certain clauses into your spousal support and child support arrangements helps you to ensure that you need not approach the court each time there is a change in circumstances that would warrant a modification to your agreements.

The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) clause takes such modifications into account, stating that the payment amount will change with the cost of living, as determined by an economic indicator such as the Consumer Price Index. This accounts for inflation over time and protects recipients of alimony or child support from seeing devaluation of their financial support over the years.

Similarly, requesting an escalator clause in an alimony and child support agreement seeks to ensure that as the higher income-generating ex-spouse’s wages increase due to annual raises or other means, the support payments, too, will be augmented.

Need assistance with a cost of lving adjustment clause? Contact Our Morristown Child Support and Family Law Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, LLC, our experienced team of attorneys is committed to serving our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County in all matters of divorce and custody.

To schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team regarding your divorce and child support arrangement, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 710-4366.

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