Divorce courts in New Jersey often award spousal support, also referred to as spousal maintenance or alimony, to a spouse that did not earn an income or earned significantly less than their spouse during the marriage. While alimony is not a part of every divorce, it can be awarded if the court deems it necessary or if the parties agree to it.
Under the New Jersey Revised Statutes, there are several types of spousal support available including:
- Limited duration alimony: Alimony awarded after a short-term marriage and usually only for a short time.
- Rehabilitative alimony: Alimony awarded with a plan to give the spouse receiving alimony a certain amount of time to obtain additional education or training before re-entering the workforce.
- Reimbursement alimony: Alimony awarded to a spouse that supported the other spouse through school so that the other spouse could earn a higher income.
- Open durational alimony: Alimony awarded after a long-term marriage to a spouse who will need long-term support.
What factors do courts consider when determining spousal support?
New Jersey courts will consider several factors listed in the alimony statute when determining what type of support to award. These factors include:
- Duration of the marriage.
- Standard of living established during the marriage.
- Earning capacities and employability of each spouse.
- The need for financial support post-divorce to maintain marital standard of living.
Many couples rely on the income from both spouses to maintain their marital lifestyle. When a couple gets divorced, it may be difficult for both spouses, particularly the lesser-earning spouse, to maintain that lifestyle without the support of the higher earning spouse. Spousal support can give the lesser earning spouse an opportunity to become financially stable without their spouse’s contributions.