New Jersey Alimony Guidelines
Unlike child support where there is a set guideline, an algorithm, which uses the income of both parties and a number of other factors, alimony is much more fluid and often brings arguments on both sides as to how much alimony or alimony is appropriate.
During the pendente lite period, when the parties are discussing a presumptive amount of alimony, many attorneys and judges rely on the Case Information Statement (the “CIS”). Speak with an experienced spousal support attorney about better understanding New Jersey alimony guidelines and how they can impact your case.What is Required of Both Former Spouses
Both parties have to submit a Case Information Statement during the course of the litigation. The CIS is a ten-page document which outlines the income of the parties, their assets and liabilities, as well as their expenses.
There is a Schedule that outlines the transportation, housing and personal expenses that each party incurs on a monthly basis. It actually includes entertainment expenses such as the amount of money spent on alcohol, tobacco, newspapers, utilities and housing costs.
If a spouse that is not the primary breadwinner or earns significantly less money that they cannot even cover those basic expenses, if the parties do separate, that is an appropriate time to look at what the expenses are and what should be given by the other party to make ends meet.New Jersey's Alimony Guidelines
The court considers a number of factors as an informal version of New Jersey alimony guidelines and some of those factors are:
- The actual need and the ability of the parties to pay
- The history of the financial and non-financial contribution to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities
- The age, physical and emotional health of the parties
- The standard of living established and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living with neither party having a greater entitlement for that standard than the other
- Their earning capacities
- Detached treatment or consequences to both parties of the alimony award including whether all or part of it is non-taxable
- The nature, amount and length of the pendente lite support aid
- Equitable distribution ordered and any payouts of equitable distribution directly or indirectly out of current income to the extent that this consideration is reasonable, just and fair
When determining alimony, the court considers the following non-money related factors:
- The duration of the marriage
- The parental responsibilities for the children if there are any children
Before understanding the ability to pay alimony, New Jersey alimony guidelines often require an evaluation the earning potential of each former spouse:
- Vocational skills and employability of the parties
- The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance
- The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the parties seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment
- The ability of the training employment and the opportunity for future acquisitions of ample assets and income
- The income available to these parties or investment assets held by one party
- The catchall factor (any other fact that the court may deem relevant)
The degree of variability between the length of the marriage alone is just one factor that needs to be considered along with all the other factors when determining an alimony award.
There is no formula for New Jersey alimony guidelines. However, the factors regarding alimony are to be considered by the parties and the judge; this information is analyzed and considered to determine if there is an actual need for alimony and if there is actual need, what that need should be.