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

Fault Impacting New Jersey Alimony Determination

When going through a divorce, you may have questions about spousal support and factors that could impact who is paying, and how much they are paying. For example, you might wonder about fault impacting New Jersey alimony determination, and whether the at-fault party will need to pay spousal support because of their fault. However, alimony is not that simple, and there are a variety of factors that can impact spousal support determination. If you want to know more about alimony determination, consult an experienced family law attorney that can help you navigate the divorce process.

Local Guidelines on Alimony Determination

There are no local guidelines when it comes to fault impacting New Jersey spousal support determination. It is not like child support where they have an algorithm (a program) where someone enters the specified information and it determines a number. It is very flexible. There is no set number if someone is within this tax bracket or within this dollar range. Although there are case laws that suggest how a judge should determine the amount of alimony, there is no set standard.

Does Recognition of Fault in the Dissolution of a Marriage Impact Spousal Support Determinations?

Many people wonder about fault impacting New Jersey spousal support determination. Fault does not play a role in the determination of alimony. The court looks through these alimony factors and makes its determination based on those factors, whether or not it is appropriate.

Role Adultery Plays in Determining Spousal Support

Adultery does not affect the spousal support determination. What might be a consideration is whether or not there has been excessive depletion of marital assets to have the adultery occur, e.g., if one spouse took their lover on a lavish vacation, then that might be a consideration. If the alimony obligation needs to be determined by the court, that could be a different factor that the court may deem relevant under the “catchall.”

Issues in Highly Contested Cases

Typically, parties come to an agreement with regards to what spousal support is appropriate.They usually start with the difference between the parties' incomes and the length of the marriage and then they start analyzing the factors. If they leave it up to the determination of the judge, it is uncertain what will be decided, because they can weigh one factor higher than what someone thought it was going to be weighed, and therefore, the alimony obligation may significantly increase or decrease depending on if they are the paying or receiving spouse. It is easier if the parties come to an agreement over whether or not alimony is appropriate, and they have more control, rather than having a trial regarding the matter.

Evidence Attorneys Use to Determine Appropriate Alimony Amounts

When in court, evidence would focus on the income capacities of the parties, and how long it is going to take for the caregiving party to find a paying job to cover expenses that were once marital, but now are going to be solely up to that individual, whether there are any investment assets,  and any sort of judgment or inheritance that might help one party.

The standard of living established by the parties can sometimes be difficult to prove if one party lived lavishly and the other party was more conservative. Although this might have been the spending habits of one party, it was not what the marital status had been throughout the course of the marriage.

Sometimes financial experts need to be retained to determine what the trend had been, the length of absence from the job market, and what training and education would be needed by that party to re-enter the job force. Those are typically hotly contested but necessary in court to try to prove a potential client's position. If an individual wants to know more about fault impacting New Jersey alimony determination, or needs help determining what is fair when it comes to alimony, they should consult a qualified family law attorney that can help.