Alimony Cases That Made An Impact
New Jersey alimony proceedings have been influenced by several cases. Crews v. Crews, 164 N.J. 11 addressed the consequences of excessive alimony. Alimony is intended to help the receiving spouse cover their expenses during this transitional time and get back on their feet. But what if the payor struggles to do the same?
Crews asked the court to modify alimony payments if the payor is unable to pay their own bills because of excessive alimony. The Supreme Court of New Jersey agreed that a person shouldnt go broke paying alimony and payments should be reviewed if the payor is working more than one job to cover alimony costs.
Another common misconception about alimony is that if a spouse is faulted for the divorce, theyll be unable to receive alimony payments. Mani v. Mani, 183 N.J. 70 changed this when the wife filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery and extreme cruelty. The husband responded by seeking permanent alimony. The courts determined the affair did not affect his earnings and therefore would not have an effect on the approval process of the alimony agreement.
How Is Alimony Calculated
Interviewer: So in terms of alimony is it called spousal support or alimony? How does the process work?
Alimony Is Determined By a Variety of Factors and Is Not Based Solely on Income
Tanya: Actually, surprising to some people, its not that under the law you look at the income and then calculate an amount. There is a statute and it is based on many different factors its the length of the marriage, the age of the parties, the health of the parties, the each partys ability to earn, and the standard of living acquired during the course of the marriage. Also, who has the children?
So you go through all these different points to show how much alimony should be paid or not. And you look at the budget thats needed and the budget thats available and you calculate a figure. There are in New Jersey some rules of thumb about alimony that are more behind the scenes. For example, in court, there are the statutory criteria.
Interviewer: That sounds fairly complicated, is there an easier method to determine amounts?
Explaining the Variables in Alimony Calculations
Tanya: The variables are first of all, whats a persons income? So you can have a) a wife who doesnt work however, she has a law degree. For example, she has a law degree and she hasnt worked for ten years.
The Court Will Impute Income to an Employable Spouse
Incomes Can Vary Dramatically Depending on Profession
Variable Incomes Can Lead to Disputed Amounts When Calculating Alimony
Factors That May Impact A New Jersey Alimony Decision:
Is alimony appropriate in your divorce?
If your divorce will cause economic hardship, you may want to consider a request for alimony. Melinda M. Previtera and her team are happy to discuss your options and help you work out the right solution for your family. Call us at 856-942-0150 to request a telephone consultation.
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Alimony Is Not Based On Gender
There are 14 factors that courts consider when awarding alimony in New Jersey. Sex is not one of them.
The court will look at the requesting partys circumstances and need for alimony. It will also look at whether the other spouse has the ability to pay. The court will not consider the sex of either party, so a husband could wind up receiving alimony, just as a wife might or a partner in a same-sex marriage.
How Much Alimony Do I Have To Pay In My New Jersey Divorce
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The amount of alimony that you may be ordered to pay depends on various factors that the court will consider. Typically, the amount will be a fraction of the difference between the incomes of both spouses. Both you and your former spouse are entitled to maintain an equal standard of living as much as possible.
Understanding The Relevant Factors
A few of the 13 factors that the court considers are:
- The incomes and assets of both spouses
- The ages of both spouses
- How financially dependent one spouse was on the other during the marriage
- The health of both spouses
- The length of the marriage
- How federal and state taxes may impact either spouse
- Both spouses contributions to the marriage
The court is obligated by law to consider each factor and determine whether it is applicable to the divorcing parties situation. For instance, if both spouses are in excellent health, the court does not need to take that factor into consideration when awarding alimony. However, if one of the spouses is physically disabled and prevented from earning much money, the court must take that into account.
Likewise, if you are paying child support, the amount of those payments will likely affect the amount of alimony you pay, since it will factor into your overall ability to support yourself. The court will need to consider how much money you have left over to meet your own financial needs after making your child support payments.
When You Can Stop Making Payments
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Palimony In New Jersey
Palimony is a term for support paid to a partner who does not have a right to alimony or spousal support. It is often paid when a couple who lives together without entering into a legal marriage or civil union ends the relationship.
Palimony is not a true legal term in New Jersey. Unmarried partners do not have an obligation to provide support, even when responsibilities are divided in a way that leaves one partner financially dependent on the other. Property is not divided trough a marital property agreement because there is no marriage. However, it is legal for one partner to voluntarily assume a contractual obligation to provide the other partner with future support or property rights.
You may have a viable New Jersey palimony claim if one of the following is true:
Palimony claims are complex and each situation is unique. Contact our experienced family law attorneys to discuss your case.
Why Alimony Rights For Men Matter
Youre getting divorced for a reason. You may feel like alimony is like pouring salt in the wound. Thankfully, New Jersey requires some very specific guidelines be met which can ultimately protect you from paying too much, for too long.
In 2014 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill designed to reform the alimony system in our state. Many of these reforms will benefit you as we seek to negotiate your alimony obligation . A few things you should know about this law: you need to worry about what was referred to as permanent alimony court-ordered payments that could last for years and years. In fact, if you have been married less than 20 years, your alimony payments should not exceed the number of years you have been married and may even be significantly less.
What if you lose your job? Not to worry. If you are out of work for three months, we can petition the court to reduce your alimony payments and child support, where in the past you would have to wait at least 6 months.
It is possible you might have to pay what is called Pendente Lite Alimony temporary alimony until your divorce is finalized. The good news is that New Jersey no longer supports permanent alimony so working with me to negotiate your alimony payment will be critical. There is a lot more to it than plugging a few numbers into an alimony calculator. I can help you review your options and negotiate terms that wont break the bank on the lifestyle you are used to living.
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When Should I Begin Financially Separating From My Spouse
While it depends on the situation, you generally want to get your finances disentangled from your spouses finances as soon as possible if youre moving toward divorce or separation. That includes both joint assets and joint debts .
This is important for a few reasons. First, you dont want your soon-to-be ex-spouse to start spending money or racking up debts, either to split their individual costs with you before your separation or simply out of spite. Second, shared debts can continue to affect your credit score, even if the court orders your former spouse to pay them.
Apart from these strictly financial considerations, separating your finances protects your privacy and helps you mentally move forward from the marriage.
How To Modify Alimony In New Jersey
Either spouse can request a modification from the court, but only when the spouses don’t have a written agreement not to change the order. If modification isn’t prohibited, then the requesting spouse must prove to the court that, since the last order, there’s a change in circumstances or that the recipient spouse failed to meet the court’s requirements for alimony.
Some instances when a court might modify or even end an alimony award include:
- the prospective or actual retirement of the paying spouse
- loss of income by the paying spouse, or
- when the receiving spouse cohabitates with another person.
To request a modification, you will need to file a motion with the court. The New Jersey courts have a detailed informational packet about how to make a motion to modify. You can also find more information about modifying a divorce order on the courts’ website.
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There Is No Permanent Alimony In New Jersey
In 2014, New Jersey overhauled its alimony system. One of the major changes was to eliminate permanent alimony. In most cases, the length of alimony cannot last for more years than the marriage. For example, if the marriage lasted ten years, alimony can usually only last up to ten years.
The court will allow for alimony to last longer, however, when there are exceptional circumstances, which include:
The age of each spouse at the time of marriage and divorce The degree to which one spouse is financially dependent on the other spouse Whether a spouse has a chronic illness or other unusual health circumstance Whether one spouse has received a much larger share of the marital estate The impact of the marriage on a spouses ability to become self-supporting Tax considerations Any other relevant factor
Alimony reform laws did not retroactively apply to awards before the effective date of the new law. So, if you were divorced before 2014, you may still receive or owe permanent alimony.
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Federal Taxes And Alimony
At the federal level, it used to be the same way. Broadly speaking, alimony was taxable as income for the recipient, and the payer could deduct it. In 2019, all of that changed. For couples who have divorced or modified a divorce agreement after the last day of 2018, alimony is no longer taxable or deductible.
Critics point out that this change to the tax law actually forces divorced couples to pay more money. Newly divorced couples will have less disposable income overall compared to other cohorts. Passed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, its always possible that this rule might change in the future. Often, the tax code changes when political administrations do. Thats part of why its a good idea to work with a financial professional for tax preparation. They may be able to help you avoid some big mistakes when you file.
How Is Alimony Determined
In order for the court to determine if alimony is necessary and the type that should be paid, they consider the following factors relating to the marriage:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- The needs of the dependent spouse
- The independent spouses ability to support the dependent spouse
- If the dependent party had a significant absence from the job market
- Equitable distribution of property
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How Is Alimony Calculated In Nj
Alimony is not always determined by the courts, but rather the conversation starts through negotiations between spouses and their respective attorneys, or with a third-party qualified divorce and family law mediator. Should you be able to agree to terms without court involvement, then those detailed terms need to be put down in a comprehensive agreement alimony is just one issue of many that need to be resolved and written in a more global divorce agreement . When you can reach agreement on your own, it gives you more control over the outcome and can save you in time, money, and stress. Alimony is often one of the most contentious areas of divorce, and if you dont have someone good in your corner to help negotiate this, then the issue will be brought to the Court and the Judge will have to decide after a lengthy and costly trial.
Factors Courts Consider in Deciding the Amount and Length of Spousal Support Payments
Under N.J.S.A 2A:34-23, the New Jersey courts first consider the need of one spouse for alimony and the ability of the other spouse to pay it. Then they consider the following factors in making alimony determinations:
Is Alimony Calculated from Gross Income in NJ?
Is There A New Jersey Alimony Calculator
No. the court relies on New Jersey alimony guidelines, including 23 different factors, when deciding alimony cases. Judges have broad discretion in determining the duration and amount of each case and are not bound by a one size fits all calculator. Ultimately, the goal is to create a fair and balanced award for both sides based on all legal considerations.
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How Long Will My New Jersey Alimony Last
How Long Will My New Jersey Alimony Last?
Financial planning in New Jersey divorce cases is essential ones long-term financial security. Alimony is often an important asset that many divorcees rely upon to get through the initial financial impact of divorce. But how long will your alimony last? The best Edison alimony attorneys fight hard to obtain a fair sum, but know clients receiving payments must plan for when the coffers close.
Alimony laws across the U.S. have undergone substantial reform in recent years. The general trend is reduction or elimination of permanent alimony awards. Additionally, the monetary total of long-term awards has generally declined. Many states now limit alimony awards to time necessary to enable the recipient to obtain job skills, education or training. Such awards are designed to allow the recipient to earn their income, rather than receive it through alimony.
So How Long are Alimony Awards in New Jersey?
Because there are so many variables court to alimony awards, it can be difficult to predict exactly how much alimony a divorcing spouse might receive or for how long those payments might continue. AnEdison alimony attorney can help divorcing spouses fight for fair alimony and determine whether to accept an alimony settlement or submit the issue to trial to be determined by a judge. After an award has been ordered, an alimony attorney can also help a spouse seek modifications or defend challenges.
How Is The Amount Of Alimony Or Spousal Support Determined Under New Jersey State Law
Need and ability to pay are factors in determining spousal support. New Jersey doesnt have a formula like some other states. The courts in New Jersey try to equalize the income or at very least make sure that the supported spouse can approximate the lifestyle of the marriage. However, the new 2019 tax law has changed the way alimony is allocated. Alimony is no longer taxable to the supported spouse but paid by the payor spouse. Therefore, alimony awards tend to be smaller than they were a year ago or in the past.
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What Is Rehabilitative Alimony In New Jersey
For spouses going through a divorce, the issue of alimony and spousal support is common. However, many people do not realize that there are actually five types of alimony agreements pursuant to New Jersey divorce law. In addition to the common limited duration alimony and open duration alimony, there is also reimbursement alimony, temporary alimony during divorce, and rehabilitative alimony. Today, our alimony attorneys will be defining rehabilitative alimony, discussing how it can fit into a larger overall alimony agreement, and outline some scenarios and potential complications which may come into play.
How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Permanent Alimony In New Jersey
There really is no such thing as permanent alimony in New Jersey after the new spousal support law went into effect just a few years ago. However, you may be entitled to what is now called open duration alimony, which really has no cap on time. In order to qualify for open duration alimony, you must have been married for at least 20 years.
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Other Types Of Alimony
The court orders different types of alimony depending on the circumstances of the marriage. The types of alimony available in New Jersey are:
- Limited Duration Alimony: For couples who were married or in a civil union for less than 20 years. These payments should not be made longer than the duration of the marriage/union and can be terminated if either spouses finances change.
- Rehabilitative alimony: When a spouse holds off their career to support their family, this allows the dependent spouse to receive the education or training they need for work.
- Reimbursement alimony: If one spouse financially supported the others education or training, this type of alimony reimburses them for the cost.