In New Jersey, spousal support is an obligation of one spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse after a divorce or legal separation. It is also sometimes called alimony.
Spousal support overview
Spousal support is meant to ensure that the lower wage-earning spouse can maintain their standard of living after the divorce or separation.
The court can award several types of spousal support: open durational alimony, rehabilitative alimony, limited duration alimony and reimbursement alimony.
Open durational alimony is paid for as long as the recipient can demonstrate that they cannot financially support themselves. Rehabilitative alimony is meant as short-term assistance to help the lower wage-earning spouse receive education to find employment.
Limited durational alimony is for a short period of time and usually applies where the marriage was short term, or the recipient is young and able to work. Reimbursement alimony is a specific amount to pay the spouse who supported the other spouse, either financially or with household contributions, while he or she obtained higher education.
Factors and modifications
The court will consider several factors when deciding how much to award in spousal support. These include the length of the marriage, the income and earning capacity of each spouse, their standard of living, their ages and health status, whether they have children and how the property was divided.
The paying spouse can request a modification of the payment if they have a significant change in circumstances, like a job loss, illness or retirement. Since alimony is based on the receiving spouse’s need for it, if that spouse becomes financially independent, a court may find there is no more need for the alimony order.