Joseph A. Lombardo
If you are seeking a divorce in New Jersey, you should have an understanding of the consequences of a divorce under state law. Alimony is the provision by which the State of New Jersey ensures that one spouse is adequately compensated by the other so that they are not deprived of a certain level of quality of life.
Whether you are the obligated payer of alimony or the rightful recipient of alimony payments, the determination of the amount and length of an alimony order can impact your life for years to come. No matter which side you land on, the counsel of an attorney can be the difference between an unfair burden and an equitable freedom.
The experienced, respected New Jersey alimony attorneys at Lombardo Law Group, LLC are ready to work for you. We present you with all of your options and prepare your case so that you get a fair shake when your hearing comes, and we will work with you after your hearing if material changes require further advocacy. For your consultation, give us a call at (609) 445-4300.
Alimony in New Jersey
Alimony is a term that refers to the amount of money that is paid to one spouse by another while the couple is separated, in the process of divorce, or after the divorce has been finalized. The terms of the alimony can be established by settlement agreement between the spouses or issued by court order. The purpose of alimony is to ensure that the spouse with fewer assets is able to enjoy a lifestyle that is as close as possible to that which they enjoyed while still married while still preserving equity for the other spouse. Alimony is available to people who are terminating either a marriage or a civil union in New Jersey.
Types of Alimony in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, a court may order alimony under five different theories. The court may elect to use multiple theories in their assessment of alimony. The theories by which a court may determine alimony are listed below.
Pendente Lite Alimony
Pendente lite literally translates to “pending the litigation.” It is a temporary order of alimony which supports the spouse over the course of the divorce proceedings. This is often the first encounter with alimony that a spouse will encounter in the event of a divorce. It is almost always replaced by a different form of alimony at the conclusion of the divorce proceeding.
Rehabilitative alimony is purposefully awarded to provide the recipient spouse with the opportunity to gain self-sufficiency. Rehabilitative alimony can be awarded when the recipient spouse was unemployed at the time of the divorce and is attempting to enroll in school or university to rejuvenate their career. Alternatively, where the recipient spouse is unemployed but attempting to find employment, rehabilitative alimony can be awarded in the interim to support the spouse until they secure income from a job.
Reimbursement alimony is awarded in instances where one spouse contributed monetarily to the schooling or training of the other spouse. If, for instance, Spouse A was paying for Spouse B to attend nursing school, but the divorce occurred before the completion of the schooling, Spouse A may be awarded reimbursement alimony because Spouse A never enjoyed any of the benefits of Spouse B’s income from their new career.
Limited Durational Alimony
Limited durational alimony refers to any other alimony order which has a specific ending date. Limited durational alimony is not associated with any specific function or purpose, unlike rehabilitative or reimbursement alimony awards. Rather, the length and the amount of limited durational alimony will be dictated by the court’s views on fairness and equity. In 2014, the State of New Jersey passed legislation that caps the length of limited durational alimony at the same number of years that the marriage lasted.
Open Durational Alimony
Open durational alimony refers to alimony which only terminates at the point of the paying spouse’s retirement or, in certain circumstances, later. Open durational alimony is only available in New Jersey to couples who have been married for longer than 20 years. The alimony requirement will terminate at the time of retirement unless the alimony recipient can demonstrate in court why it should continue.
Modification or Termination of Alimony in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, orders of alimony requirements may be altered or thrown out by courts. A modification of alimony requires a showing of a change in the circumstances of either or both spouses that was substantial, involuntary, permanent, and unanticipated. In order to have a court modify their order for alimony, the spouse who desires the modification must file a motion to modify alimony in the court that delivered the order.
The following are some examples of circumstances that could prompt the filing of a motion to modify or terminate alimony:
- The recipient spouse has remarried
- Either spouse’s income has substantially increased
- Either spouse’s income has substantially decreased
- Either spouse has developed a serious, costly illness or disability that prevents them from working or earning at their previous level
- The paying spouse has retired
- Either spouse has lost their job
- The business of either spouse has failed or declared bankruptcy
Getting Alimony Payments from Uncooperative Ex-Spouses in New Jersey
If your ex-spouse has been unresponsive or has failed to pay according to the terms of the alimony as ordered, you have legal options in New Jersey. A New Jersey attorney representing a recipient party in New Jersey could file a motion to the court on their behalf.
The motion could ask the court to formally order the payment of outstanding alimony debt and require that all future payments be timely paid. For more egregious violations, the court could also order the delinquent person to compensate the recipient for attorney’s fees associated with preparing and filing the motion. As a last resort, the court has the option to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the delinquent party.
Get Help from Alimony Attorneys in New Jersey Today
You deserve the experience of the dedicated New Jersey alimony attorneys at Lombardo Law Group, LLC. Call (609) 445-4300.
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