Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Is spousal support forever?

One of the biggest headaches one may face at the prospect of an ending marriage is how to survive financially. This is especially true if one spouse was the main contributor to the income of the joint household. It may be beneficial to know if spousal support may be awarded in New Jersey and how long payments will continue, as it can provide peace of mind and allow for planning the future. 

The aim of alimony payments is to allow for the receiving spouse to enjoy a similar lifestyle while separated as well as after the divorce for a period of time until the person can provide for him or herself. Historically, it was mostly the wives who stayed at home to look after the children and then spousal support was awarded in cases of divorce. Modern times have brought about change -- spousal support claims have decreased, and men are sometimes awarded support from ex-wives.

Courts consider a number of factors when deciding on the amount to be paid, as well as the period alimony covers.  If both spouses have approximately the same level of education, skill set and earn  approximately the same, no support will be awarded to either party. Other factors include the duration of the marriage, as well as the lifestyle to which the parties were accustomed during the marriage.

Courts may award long term spousal support in cases where the court is of the opinion that one party will never be able to earn what the other spouse does, particularly when the couple has been married for a long time. Sometimes the court will award support for a period of time to allow for one party to get an education or job. This allows for the person to get back on his or her feet. 

Before negotiations start, a consultation with a family law attorney may benefit someone seeking spousal support. The assistance of an experienced New Jersey family law attorney can help secure an award of alimony when warranted. At the same time clarity of the position of both parties can be ensured making sure there are no unreasonable expectations.

Source:, "Average Duration of Alimony Payments", Marcelina Hardy, Accessed on June 07, 2017

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