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Is Alimony A Factor In Your Divorce?
During a divorce in New York or New Jersey, the court may order one spouse to make payments to financially support the other spouse. This is known as alimony and is also referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support. Alimony is generally designed to help support a spouse who was financially supported during marriage until the supported spouse is able to support him- or herself. Whether you are seeking alimony from a spouse, are trying to determine how much alimony you would have to pay to your spouse, or have been ordered to pay it. Generally speaking, alimony orders are falling out of favor with courts. Alimony is being awarded less frequently and state alimony laws are becoming stricter. The attorneys of Bonfiglio & Asterita, LLC, can help you to understand and navigate the complexity of the laws governing awards of alimony in New York and New Jersey.
How is Alimony Calculated In New York And New Jersey?
The court will weigh a range of factors when deciding to award alimony and if awarder how much of an award is appropriate, including:
- How long you were married.
- The couple’s standard of living during the marriage, and each spouse’s contributions to that standard of living.
- The health of each spouse.
- The age of each spouse.
- The income and employment opportunities of each spouse, including the level of education, professional degrees, licenses and training of each spouse.
- The needs of the receiving spouse, and time and circumstances it will take them to become self-supporting.
- The paying spouse’s ability to pay.
- Whether the couple has children that must be supported.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Once the court has considered the above factors, the duration of an alimony award must be determined. There are several different types of alimony in New York and New Jersey each with different purposes with differing lengths of duration as applicable to the circumstances found by the court that can be ordered separately or combined together in the court’s discretion:
- Temporary alimony can be awarded to an unemployed or low-earning spouse to support them during the divorce process.
- Limited duration alimony may be awarded to a spouse for a specified period of time so they can transition into being self-supporting.
- Similar to limited duration alimony, rehabilitative alimony can be granted when the receiving spouse submits a specific plan to become self-supporting to the court, including education or training. The other spouse supports them while they carry out this plan.
- Reimbursement alimony may be granted to a spouse who financially supported the other spouse’s higher education, for example, medical school, in the hopes that the couple would benefit from said education.
- Permanent alimony may be awarded to a spouse after a long marriage if they have sacrificed education or career opportunities to care for the family. If the Court does not set an end date for permanent alimony, the payor will be required to make alimony payments until the receiving spouse remarries or either spouse dies.
Of course, there are restrictions and other factors that determine the length of an alimony award. For example, in New Jersey, an alimony award cannot exceed the duration of the marriage if the marriage lasted less than 20 years, unless exceptional circumstances apply.
Can An Alimony Award Be Modified Or Terminated?
There are circumstances in which a court can modify or terminate an award of alimony. Such circumstances include an unforeseen change in circumstances, such as a remarriage, medical emergency, unforeseen change in financial situations, a child reaching adulthood and no longer needing support, or the death of either spouse. A spouse who refuses to pay court-ordered alimony may be held in contempt of court and possibly face jail time. The court can also possibly terminate an alimony payment if the receiving spouse lives with a partner, even if they are not married.
Contact Us Today
The laws governing alimony in New York and New Jersey are complex and often subject to change. At Bonfiglio & Asterita, LLC, our team of experienced attorneys can guide you through the difficult laws and judicial process concerning alimony awards. We regularly assist clients with various family law matters in New York and New Jersey. Whether you are contemplating a divorce, are already a party to one, or want a prior award for alimony reviewed you can schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys via email, or by calling our New York or New Jersey office at 877-808-9120.