Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

Considerations in New Jersey Alimony

When getting divorced, spousal support is one of the logistical elements that many people are forced to deal with. The determination of alimony payments amount, and who will be responsible for paying those amounts can seem confusing. There are plenty of factors that are taken into consideration when deciding who will pay, and how much they will need to pay, and your lawyer can explain it all. If you want to know more about considerations in New Jersey alimony, consult an experienced family law attorney that can answer your questions and advocate for you.

Misconceptions a Person Might Have About Alimony

New Jersey reformed their alimony statute in 2014. The old statute said that open or permanent alimony is paid by the paying spouse, even if that paying spouse reached 100 years old. This is no longer the law. Instead, the paying spouse is entitled to a modification and termination once they reach retirement age.

How Alimony is Paid

Alimony can be paid directly to the receiving spouse from the paying spouse. The paying spouse can also give the money to the appropriate probation department where the payments can be made either directly from the paying spouse to the Probation Department or the Probation Department can set up wage garnishment, which means that the money is automatically taken out of the paying spouse’s paycheck.

When is Alimony Generally Awarded in New Jersey?

It is difficult to say when spousal support is generally awarded. One of the considerations in New Jersey alimony is that there is no set number of cases or set criteria that warrant when spousal support should be awarded. The easiest answer to that is, whenever it is deemed appropriate according to the case law and the statute. After going through the factors and after looking at what the trends are in alimony, it would be determined with more confidence if spousal support should be awarded.

How Alimony Amounts Are Determined

The amount of the award is determined either by agreement or the analysis of the factors of the statute, e.g., the financial circumstances of the parties, their typical shelter expenses, transportation costs, personal expenses during the course of the marriage, and what they estimate those expenses will be after the marriage. If there are children involved, what the expenses will be for the parent at the primary residence.

After looking at the income of the paying spouse, an agreement between the parties as to the amount can usually be reached. If the parties are represented by attorneys, negotiations and conversations are exchanged in an attempt to reach an amicable agreement. If the amount is determined by the judge, it will be determined by analysis of the factors.

Examples of Payments That Are Not Considered Alimony Award Settlement

Another one of the considerations in New Jersey alimony is that there are payments that are not considered spousal support are basically child support and the equitable distribution of property. If the parties have to sell their home and have to split the equity, that is not considered spousal support. A division of retirement assets is not considered spousal support. Division of joint bank accounts, even if one party is the primary wage earner, is not spousal support.

Disclosing Involvement in a Divorce Proceeding

People involved in divorce proceedings do not need to disclose that information to anyone unless their alimony is paid through probation via wage garnishment. At that time, they should notify their employer’s HR Department that this information is going to be coming from the court. Otherwise, they are not required to give this information to anyone.

Influence of Mental Health on Alimony

If there is a mental health disability, it would depend on the level of that disability and other factors, like whether they receive government benefits, whether or not they are able to work or become employed, or whether they will need an additional caretaker.

Those are all qualifications under that last catchall factor and the other factors that the Court may deem relevant, that would need to be addressed, depending on the specific circumstances of the parties.

One of the other considerations in New Jersey alimony to take into account is that there is a pre-existing health condition that would prevent a spouse from working or becoming employed, that would need to be considered as well.

Can an Attorney Represent Both Parties?

The attorney would only be able to represent one party in the divorce complaint unless they are the Mediator. If the attorney is a Mediator, they would be able to approach both sides of the divorce and determine what would be fair. If an attorney is representing one party, they would be able to make all the arguments in favor of the person they are working with.

Benefit of an Attorney

When getting divorced, it can be hard to determine who should pay alimony, and what the amount to pay should be. It can be hard to navigate this process alone, which is where a knowledgeable attorney can help. Your attorney can explain the different considerations in New Jersey alimony and can help you pursue a positive outcome.