In circumstances where alimony is not awarded in New Jersey, the former spouses can speak with a distinguished spousal support lawyer about rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is when one party has to essentially get back on their feet. It is typically a situation where one party has been a caregiver and the other party has been the breadwinner. 

A plan has to be given to the Court and the other party that shows that the person that is receiving the money has a plan for rehabilitation, i.e., what they plan to do and the steps they will take to achieve that rehabilitation in a certain period of time when they expect to be employed. For those questioning elements of their divorcing process, a distinguished spousal support lawyer can help you review the priorities of your case.

Understanding Rehabilitation Options

Although the parties can agree during a divorce proceeding that this is a Rehabilitative Alimony for a period of five years, it can be modified. The time can be modified based upon changed circumstances or the non-occurrence of circumstances that the court found would occur at the time of the award.

If a program is no longer available, or they thought it would be available earlier and it is not available now that would enable the rehabilitation, then that would allow that amount of alimony to extend because the purpose of the alimony is not being achieved. When speaking about Rehabilitative Alimony, it is not thought of as a drug or alcohol rehabilitative aspect; it is a financial rehabilitation.

Reasons for Not Awarding Alimony

The reasoning for circumstances where alimony is not awarded in New Jersey is typically financially-focused. Short-term marriage is a situation where a court may determine that they have not intermingled their finances enough. This means that they have not become dependent upon the other enough; and that there is no need for one party to receive that amount. The short version is when the Court would determine that alimony is not appropriate if the parties have similar income and have similar expenses.

What is a Waiver of Alimony?

It is important to speak with a skilled alimony and spousal support attorney about how to handle circumstances where alimony is not awarded in New Jersey.  If there is a Waiver of Alimony (based on Lepis v Lepis and Cruz v Cruz), this would state that the parties agree not to accept alimony now and that they are going to forever waive any right to claim alimony in the future, despite the fact that there might be a change in the respective incomes of the parties.

The judge will advise them that in the event their ex-spouse or your future ex-spouse wins the lottery tomorrow, this Waiver states that they cannot come after them for any type of support, even if they win the Mega Millions. There is language included in Marital Settlement Agreements that states if a party is not accepting alimony now, there is no right for them to claim it in the future.

How to Handle a Waiver of Alimony

If an individual has a Marital Settlement Agreement that contains the Waiver of Alimony, they are never able to come back to the court. The court is just going to remind them that they agreed to this. If they do not have that Waiver and if there are changed circumstances that come forward entitling an individual to alimony now, they certainly can make an application for it. However, this consideration and the factors that are going to be considered by the Court are the same as discussed previously.