Tanya L. Freeman

Alimony: We Work to Get You What You Need to Keep Going

By Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law

Alimony Attorney New Jersey

We’re here to make sure alimony/spousal support agreements are fair and reflect your needs. Each spouse’s contributions to a marriage are unique and will be assessed carefully by Tanya L. Freeman and her team when considering the details of alimony claim. We believe everyone deserves to move on from their marriage feeling like their alimony agreement is reasonable and does not take undue advantage of one spouse’s circumstances. Alimony Attorney New Jersey

Spouses, domestic partners, and same-sex spouses, may be eligible for alimony or spousal support. Some reasons for spousal support include: 

  • One spouse contributed time and energy to parenting rather than a paying profession  
  • One spouse requires training and education to become financially independent after divorce
  • One spouse cannot maintain the marital standard of living without financial contribution from the other spouse

When determining alimony claims, New Jersey courts consider each party’s financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage, including the time, job growth, and financial sacrifices made by one spouse while the other pursued an education. Even after a divorce is settled, courts may allow modifications to alimony due to changes in circumstances. Job loss of the paying spouse, remarriage or cohabitation by the receiving spouse, and disability are among many reasons the court will consider stopping or altering a spousal support or alimony agreement.

Whether you need to submit an initial alimony or spousal support claim or modify an existing one, Tanya L. Freeman and her alimony attorney experienced team will pour over every detail of a marriage to make sure your alimony agreement is fair and reasonable.

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Everything You Need To Know About Alimony

Alimony 101

What is Alimony?

Alimony or spousal support is the total amount of money one party gives to the other during a separation or divorce involving two parties. The court may impose alimony during the separation or divorce process and after the divorce has been finalized.

The family law in New Jersey takes into account the potential financial damage that divorce can cause to a spouse who has fewer assets and provides for an equitable division of assets, which may include regular payments from the spouse who is more financially secure to support the needs and way of life of the spouse who has fewer assets. In addition, in New Jersey, alimony payments are now legally limited to the years the two parties were married rather than being granted for life (permanent alimony).

What are the Types of Alimony in New Jersey?

Below are the types of alimony that are permissible in New Jersey. Alimony Attorney New Jersey

Temporary (Pendente Lite) Alimony

“Pendente lite alimony” is a type of temporary alimony that is awarded during the pendency (the period of time) of a divorce. The term “pendente lite” is a Latin phrase that translates to “pending the litigation.”

When a couple decides to divorce, the legal process can take several months or even longer to finalize. During this time, the lower-earning or non-earning spouse may experience financial hardship. Pendente lite alimony is intended to provide temporary financial support to the financially dependent spouse until a final alimony agreement or court order is established.

The purpose of pendente lite alimony is to maintain the status quo and ensure both spouses have the financial means to cover their living expenses and legal costs during the divorce proceedings. The court will consider the financial needs and resources of both parties when determining the amount of temporary alimony.

It’s essential to understand that pendente lite alimony is separate from any final alimony award, and the amount awarded during the interim period may not necessarily reflect the final alimony decision. Once the divorce is finalized, the court may reassess the financial situation and make a final determination on alimony based on various factors, as mentioned in my previous response.

Open Duration Alimony

“Open duration alimony” is a type of alimony or spousal support arrangement that has no predetermined end date. Alimony continues until a specified event occurs or a court order modifies or terminates it. Open duration alimony is in contrast to other forms of alimony that have a defined duration or end date.

In many cases, open duration alimony is awarded when there has been a long-term marriage (typically considered to be a marriage of considerable duration, such as 20 years or more). The purpose of open duration alimony is to provide ongoing financial support to a spouse who may have significantly lower earnings or long-term sacrifice of career opportunities for the sake of the marriage.

The court will consider several factors when determining the appropriateness and amount of open duration alimony, such as the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, their respective financial situations, and any other relevant circumstances.

Limited Duration Alimony

Limited duration alimony is a type of alimony or spousal support arrangement that is awarded for a specific and defined period of time in the state of New Jersey (NJ). Unlike open duration alimony, which has no predetermined end date, limited duration alimony has a set duration.

Limited duration alimony is typically awarded when there has been a short to moderate-length marriage, and the recipient spouse needs financial support for a limited period to help them transition and become financially self-sufficient. The purpose of limited duration alimony is to provide support to the financially dependent spouse while they acquire the skills or resources necessary to support themselves independently.

When determining limited duration alimony, the court considers various factors, including the length of the marriage, the financial needs and resources of both parties, the standard of living during the marriage, and any other relevant circumstances. The court will set a specific duration for the alimony payments based on these factors.

It’s important to note that limited duration alimony may be modified or terminated under certain circumstances, such as if there is a substantial change in the financial situation of either party or if the recipient spouse becomes self-sufficient before the designated duration ends.

Rehabilitative Alimony

When one spouse requires financial assistance while pursuing education or training that would enable employment and financial independence, judges may provide rehabilitative alimony. The primary purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to help the recipient spouse acquire the necessary skills, education, or training to re-enter the job market or establish a stable career, allowing them to support themselves without relying on alimony payments in the future.

Reimbursement Alimony

Alimony Attorney New Jersey

This kind of alimony is given when one spouse helps the other pay for a higher education, understanding that the supporting spouse will share in the increased earning potential brought on by the education. A court’s decision to provide reimbursement alimony is final and cannot be changed later.

Judges can diverge from the recommendations depending on the couple’s circumstances and the nature of the case, even though New Jersey law offers basic guidelines as to which of these forms of alimony a court should award. Alimony Attorney New Jersey  Alimony Attorney New Jersey

How is Alimony Determined in New Jersey?

When deciding whether or not to award alimony, how much to award, and how long it should last, New Jersey courts consider several statutory factors. A New Jersey alimony lawyer can assist you in determining how the statutory alimony considerations apply to you.

The following factors have the most influence on spousal support decisions:

Alimony Attorney New Jersey

The Tax Effects of Alimony Payments

Alimony paid before 2019 was generally taxable income for the receiving spouse and tax deductible for the paying spouse; alimony paid in 2019 or after is no longer taxable or tax deductible for either spouse).  Alimony Attorney New JerseyAlimony Attorney New Jersey

Length of Marriage

There is no set period of marriage that automatically establishes an alimony obligation in the law. It is important to remember that if you were married for less than 20 years, New Jersey would not allow alimony to be paid for more than the length of the marriage unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as chronic illness of the dependent spouse or whether or not the spouse in need is the primary caregiver of the children. 

The Standard of Living

The court considers whether one spouse requires financial assistance to maintain a lifestyle that is reasonably close to their standard of living when they were married. In the same manner, they also consider whether the other spouse is able to pay such financial assistance while maintaining a comparable standard of living.

The Age and Health of Each Spouse

The age and health of each spouse are important considerations since they can have a direct impact on a person’s ability to sustain themselves financially and re-enter the labor force. When one spouse is much older or suffers from health difficulties that limit their capacity to work, they may be at a disadvantage when it comes to generating funds to support themselves after the divorce.

Each Spouse’s Income

Alimony is intended to rectify the income gap between the parties as a result of the divorce or separation. As a result, the court looks at each spouse’s income to determine their financial needs and ability to maintain their different levels of living after the marriage is dissolved. This includes any income deriving from marital property distribution.

History of Each Spouse’s Financial or Non-Financial Contributions to the Marriage

The state of New Jersey recognizes that both spouses contribute to the marriage in different ways. The court aims to guarantee that the economic discrepancy caused by the divorce is addressed properly through the alimony order, whether one spouse was the principal earner while the other managed the household or both couples contributed equally in financial and non-financial ways. Alimony Attorney New Jersey

Each Spouse’s Earning Capacity

This is determined by characteristics like education, career history, parental obligations, and the potential need for more education or training to qualify for relevant employment.

New Jersey Alimony Attorney

How Long Does The Payee Have To Pay Alimony In New Jersey?

The time that both parties were married before the divorce will often be considered when deciding how long spousal support payments will last. For instance, divorce for marriages and civil unions of less than 20 years is subject to alimony payments for a term not to exceed the duration of their marriage or civil union. 

Depending on the details of each spouse’s case, the law may impose either open durational alimony (paid as long as the recipient’s spouse cannot support themselves otherwise) or restricted duration alimony (paid for a brief period when the recipient’s spouse is employable). Even the receiving spouse’s remarriage does not end alimony payments in some circumstances, such as when the recipient party is seriously disabled.

How Can One Avoid Alimony In New Jersey?

The Payee must make the payments as directed once the court has decreed alimony in a separation or divorce. However, any party may submit a motion to change or stop spousal support. In some circumstances, a party may change the length, conditions for payment, and amount of alimony. When the Payee in an alimony order can demonstrate an unintentional loss of income, alimony payments may be terminated. 

When considering whether to modify or end spousal support, the court will consider the circumstances surrounding the income loss and the receiving spouse’s financial situation. For example, if the receiving spouse remarries or has a romantic relationship with another person, the Payee may ask the court to stop the alimony payments.

The amount of alimony may also be reduced or increased by a written agreement between the parties to a separation or divorce. After the expiration of this agreement, any requested amendment to a significant alteration must be supported by a motion submitted to the court that demonstrates how the modification was unexpected and unintentional.

A judge may terminate alimony under New Jersey law if the recipient party misbehaves. In addition, after entering into a civil union or marriage to the Payee, a recipient of alimony may have their spousal support payments terminated if the receiver is found guilty of a criminal offense that caused the death or significant bodily damage of a family member of the divorce party.

Alimony Attorney New Jersey

How Can Alimony be Modified in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, either spouse may ask the court to modify the alimony order if both parties cannot reach an agreement. If a modification is allowed, the asking spouse must show evidence to the court that there is a change in circumstances since the receiving spouse has not complied with the court’s alimony obligations. Some of the instances include:

  • When a paying spouse retires or loses their job 

  • When a paying spouse’s business fails

  • When the receiving spouse cohabitates with someone else

  • When the receiving spouse’s income significantly increases

  • Significant health issue/s limiting the paying spouse’s earning potential

  • Increase in living expenses 

You must file a motion with the New Jersey court to request a modification. The courts in New Jersey provide a thorough, informative packet on how to submit a motion to amend. In addition, you may discover further details regarding changing a divorce decree on the court’s website.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Are Alimony Agreements or Court Orders Enforced in New Jersey?

One of the most common ways to legally enforce an alimony agreement in New Jersey is by wage garnishment. While there may be limits as to how much income can be garnished, you may be able to obtain all of your unpaid alimony payments through this method.

What is Pendente Lite Alimony?

Pendente lite alimony, also known as temporary alimony, can be awarded early in the divorce process to maintain each spouse in the same financial position that existed prior to the divorce (the status quo).

What Is the Difference Between Alimony & Palimony in New Jersey?

The difference between Alimony & Palimony in New Jersey is that “Palimony” is not a true legal term the way that “alimony,” “spousal support,” or “spousal maintenance” (all of which generally mean the same thing) are legal terms. 

Aggressive Alimony Attorney in New Jersey

Alimony Attorney New Jersey

Spousal support is a problem that might follow you even after your divorce is finalized. Whether you are seeking an initial support order, alimony modification, or enforcement of an existing spousal support order, experienced advice from someone who understands New Jersey spousal support law inside and out can be invaluable. 

Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law, and her staff represent both individuals seeking alimony and those who may be ordered to pay it. Clients frequently wonder if they will be obliged to pay alimony if their circumstances change. Others are seeking enforcement because they are not receiving the alimony payments outlined in the agreement. An alimony attorney can assist you in presenting information to the court as to why the amount you pay should be reduced or in requesting that the alimony arrangement be appropriately enforced.

Looking for an Alimony Attorney
Contact Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law
at (973) 791-8903

Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law
100 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite 105
East Hanover, New Jersey 07936
(973) 791-8903