Factors used to make alimony decisions in a divorce

Married couples in New Jersey work together to pay the bills and figure out other financial issues during their marriage. How the couple accomplishes this varies though. Sometimes both work and equally contribute to the finances. In other marriages only one spouse works while the other one may stay home with the children while they are young. Other times both spouses may work, but one earns much more the other. However, no matter the situation, both spouses become accustomed to the lifestyle they have during the marriage.

If the couple divorces though, maintaining that lifestyle may become difficult for both spouses, especially if one did not work during the marriage or earned significantly less than the other one. In these types of situations one spouse may be required to pay the other one alimony. These are payments that are made to ensure that both spouses can meet their needs and a similar lifestyle after the divorce.

There are four different types of alimony: open durational, rehabilitative, limited duration or reimbursement. In determining if alimony will be awarded or what type of alimony will be awarded, judges analyze a number of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, the need of the spouse and the other spouse’s ability to pay; the duration of the marriage; the age and health of each spouse; the standard of living during the marriage, the employment history and education level of each spouse; the amount of time required for a spouse to gain meaningful employment; the assets and investments available to the spouses and others.

Couples in New Jersey have varying levels of combined income and how they earn that income varies as well. When couples divorce, it may be difficult for both spouses to maintain the lifestyle established during the marriage, especially if one spouse earned significantly more than the other. In these situations alimony may be ordered. These are very fact-specific determinations and can be complicated as well. Experienced attorneys understand the factors used to established alimony though and may be a useful resource.