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

Setting New Jersey Alimony Payment Durations

Setting New Jersey alimony payment durations often depends on the type of alimony that is awarded. There are four types of alimony in New Jersey: limited durational alimony, open durational alimony, rehabilitative alimony and reimbursement alimony. If you are in the midst of alimony proceedings, a skilled spousal support attorney can help you navigate the alimony process, and can help you negotiate a payment duration that works for you.

Reimbursement Alimony

Reimbursement alimony is only to be awarded under circumstances in which one party supported the other spouse through an advanced education. That amount cannot be modified. It is essentially a repayment of the appropriate amount while one party was working and the other party was going to college or pursuing their master's degree. When setting New Jersey alimony payment durations, in this instance, the length depends on the amount that needs to be reimbursed and the capability of the other party to reimburse it. That could be set by the parties or set by the judge.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is a written plan which shows that the recipient is going to have what their scope of rehabilitation is, the steps to be taken to rehabilitate, and the timeframe, including a period of employment during which the rehabilitation will occur. A situation with a breadwinning spouse and a caregiving spouse, and the caregiving spouse needs to get back on their feet, needs to either go back to school or pursue employment of some type; the caregiving spouse has to have a plan showing how they are going to become a breadwinner themselves.

And that is also contingent upon the scope of rehabilitation, the steps to be taken, and the defined time-frame when this needs to be accomplished.

In terms of limited duration alimony, that is not open duration alimony. In determining the length of the term of limited durational alimony, they need to consider the time that it would reasonably take to improve the earning the capacity where the alimony is no longer appropriate. If the marriage or civil union lasted more than 20 years, that means that the alimony term cannot exceed the length of the marriage, except in exceptional circumstances.

Factors When Determining the Length of Durational Alimony

Other factors that are considered when determining and setting New Jersey alimony payment durations is the impact of the need for separate residence for each individual, the increase in the living expenses for both parties and its effect on attaining the reasonably comparable standard of living each enjoyed during the marriage or civil union, and the fact that each party has an equal right to that standard of living.

Additionally, after an alimony duration is set, there are situations that are considered exceptional by the court that may adjust the alimony duration. For example:

  • Ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the award of the alimony
  • Degree and duration of the dependency of one party on the other during the marriage
  • Whether a spouse has a chronic illness or unusual health condition
  • Whether a spouse has given up a career or opportunity for the career of the other
  • Whether a spouse received a disproportionate share of equitable distribution
  • Impact of the marriage on either party's ability to become self-supporting, including the party's responsibility to care for a child
  • Tax considerations of either party
  • And any other factors that the court may deem equitable, relevant, and material

What is important about that is that an individual can always go back to the court if they have one of these exceptional circumstances in that time period. So, despite the fact that their marital settlement agreement during their divorce states that a party is only going to receive alimony for ten years, if they find that they fit into these factors for exceptional circumstances, they may be able to have it extended for a few more years if the court deems it appropriate.

Benefit of Working With a New Jersey Alimony Attorney

The alimony process can be difficult to navigate alone. Setting New Jersey alimony payment durations requires a lot of nuance and knowledge, which is where an experienced spousal support lawyer can help. Consult a qualified alimony attorney that can attempt to advocate for you.