Spousal support or alimony (the money a higher-earning spouse pays the other during or after a divorce) is one of the crucial elements of divorce. It can be a complicated subject, as it’s associated with a lot of misinformation and has gone through significant changes in the state over the years.
Here is what you should know about alimony in New Jersey:
Length of marriage
New Jersey considers the length of marriage when giving orders regarding alimony. For marriages that lasted up to 20 years, the period of alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage unless there are exceptional circumstances. Therefore, if a couple was married for 15 years, the maximum the judge will order alimony to be paid for is also 15 years.
Examples of exceptional circumstances that can result in the increase of this period include the degree and duration of dependency of one party on the other during the marriage, tax considerations of either party and the impact of the marriage on each party’s ability to become self-supporting.
Intimate relationship with a new person
If a party receiving alimony engages in an intimate, marital-like relationship with a new person, the payer can request the court to terminate or suspend alimony.
The payer won’t need to prove to the court that their ex-spouse is living with the new person. All they need to prove is the relationship. The judge will consider different factors, such as the duration of the relationship and if it’s recognized by the couple’s social and family circle, before giving an order.
Alimony can be modified if the payer involuntarily loses income. They can file for a motion to modify payments 90 days after being unemployed.
In New Jersey, if someone reaches full retirement age, they can seek to modify or terminate alimony payments.
If you are going through a divorce, you should obtain more information about each aspect to make informed decisions.