What determines if a spouse gets alimony in New Jersey?


The term alimony refers to the money a spouse must may to financially support the other spouse. Typically, it is paid by the ex-husband to the ex-wife, however, in circumstances where the ex-wife was the primary breadwinner, it is the opposite. Divorce lawyers in New Jersey can help couples understand what alimony needs to be paid, when it needs to be paid, and whether there are additional factors to consider.

What are the alimony guidelines in New Jersey?

At this point, there are no specific guidelines in New Jersey. Nor is there any official formula that is determined by statute or case law to identify the total amount or period of alimony. More often than not, the attorneys and Judges tend to identify the amount of alimony by looking at the total income of both spouses. Then they subtract the two numbers and award the spouse with the lower income around 1/4th of the difference between the incomes. .

For instance, let’s say that one spouse makes $100,000.00 annually while the other spouse makes $25,000.00 annually. There is a difference of $75,000.00 between the two incomes. This number must be multiplied by 1/4, and based on that, the annual alimony obligation is $18,750.00 or $360.57 per week.

Originally, this formula was called the 1/3 rule. However, there was a tax reform in 2017 due to which alimony is now no longer tax deductible. As a result of this, the 1/3 rule has been changed by some lawyers and judges to 22 – 25% based on the income of the parties.

Additionally, if one spouse is not employed, she or he could be awarded alimony based on what the court believes a spouse is capable of earning.

What factors determine alimony in New Jersey,

The New Jersey Alimony statute lists out a number of factors that family law courts must use in calculating both the amount and duration of alimony:

  •   The overall needs of one spouse, along with the total ability of the other spouse to financially take care of those needs.
  •   The time period of the marriage.
  •   The age of each spouse, as well as their health (both mentally, and physically)
  •   The spouse’s overall standard of living that was created during the relationship and the ability of each spouse to achieve a similar standard of living financially.
  •   The earning abilities of each spouse – this takes factors like education, overall employability in the current job market training, and occupational skills into account.
  •   How long the spouse has not worked
  •   Any parental responsibilities.
  •   The time it can take for the spouse to attain the training needed to become employable
  •   The contributions each spouse has made during the marriage. Generally this covers  both financial and non-financial aspects and this includes child-rearing, housekeeping, and even ending one’s career to support the other spouse aspirations
  •  Any other relevant factor, such as the area where the spouse lives, whether someone is in a relationship again, whether someone is expecting a child, and so on. 

Final Thoughts

Divorce lawyers in New Jersey  can help you navigate your divorce in the best possible manner. It is important to speak to them to get an idea of the kind of alimony you can get. You can use this information to plan your life ahead in a more comprehensible manner, and also figure out how to get the training you need to enter the job market again.

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