Somerville Alimony Lawyer
If you are going through a New Jersey divorce, you will likely confront issues regarding alimony. Alimony, also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, involves court-ordered financial support by one former spouse awarded to the other. Alimony is typically a contested issue, and whether you are seeking to receive payments or are facing an obligation to make payments, it is vital to have a strong legal voice in your corner defending your financial stake.
Somerville alimony lawyer Katherine K. Wagner has decades of experience representing men and women on both sides of alimony disputes. Ms. Wagner understands the complicated and emotionally charged nature of alimony issues and prides herself on serving her clients’ individual needs with care, dedication, and support.
New Jersey Alimony Factors and Alimony Types
Just like other aspects of divorce in New Jersey, there are several statutory kinds of alimony. New Jersey courts will determine which type of alimony to award, as well as the amount and duration of the alimony to award, in light of a variety of factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The difference in educational levels between the spouses
- Whether and for how long one spouse was unemployed in order to raise the family
- Each party’s employability and work history
The types of alimony available in New Jersey include:
- Pendente Lite Alimony. This is alimony that may be paid to a dependent spouse during the divorce proceedings to keep the status quo until the divorce is finalized.
- Open Durational Alimony. Courts may award open-ended alimony after a long-term marriage (typically 20 years or longer) where one spouse has significantly stronger earning capacity than the other. This form of alimony is, nevertheless, not meant to be permanent, and it may be terminated when no longer necessary or when the payor, for example, reaches his or her normal Social Security retirement age and actually retires.
- Limited Duration Alimony. Courts award limited duration alimony in shorter marriages (generally under 20 years). Alimony is set for a specific term, not to exceed the length of the marriage, and may be modified due to a significant change in circumstance.
- Rehabilitative Alimony. This type of alimony is intended to support a dependent spouse while they undergo training or education to be more competitive in the job market. Once they have obtained a job and are able to support themselves they no longer require alimony.
- Reimbursement Alimony. This type of alimony is generally reserved for short marriages where one spouse contributed to the other spouse’s obtaining of a professional degree or other advanced training, such as a medical or legal degree. The alimony is awarded to pay back the spouse who previously supported their spouse through their education but who did not get to benefit from the advanced degree or license.
Modifying Alimony in New Jersey
Alimony is not set in stone forever. In fact, New Jersey courts try to avoid “indefinite” alimony. Regardless of whether alimony is intended to be in place for two years or twenty, if the financial circumstances of either the paying or receiving spouse change following the divorce, alimony may be modified.
Alimony can be changed based upon a change of circumstance, such as when the recipient spouse remarries, cohabits, or no longer needs the support. Alimony may also be modified if the payer has had a decrease in his or her income. The rules and laws surrounding alimony in New Jersey have been changing in recent years. For instance, legislation was passed in September 2014 that modified many aspects of the payment and receipt of alimony. Based upon her decades of experience handling New Jersey family law matters, Somerville alimony attorney Katherine K. Wagner can evaluate your case and help you determine if any alimony modification options are available to you.
Tax Implications of Alimony
Alimony has become a more hotly contested issue in the last couple of years as a result of recent federal tax reforms. Up until the 2017 Federal Tax Reform Act, alimony was always deductible for tax purposes by the payor spouse and taxable to the payee (recipient) spouse. However, for any and all marital agreements or judgments of divorce entered into after December 31, 2018 , the deductibility of alimony will no longer be available to the payor, nor will it be taxable to the payee (recipient). The result is that wealthier spouses may now be more reluctant to pay a certain amount of alimony if they no longer benefit from the tax deduction. The deductibility of alimony, however, pertains only to Federal taxation and the deduction is currently still allowed by the State of New Jersey.
Ms. Wagner is available to help you understand the tax implications of alimony as the payor or recipient spouse and work with you and your spouse’s attorney to reach an agreeable award in light of the new laws.
Alimony vs. Child Support
There is an important distinction between the issues of alimony and child support. Different standards apply in determining whether to award each type of support, and different considerations underlie why each may be necessary and appropriate in a given situation. Therefore, a person could end up paying both alimony and child support at the same time. New Jersey courts will ensure, however, that the amount of alimony for the supported spouse is calculated before child support is calculated. The amount of child support will, in turn, be affected by the alimony awards.
Get Help from a Dedicated Somerville Alimony Lawyer
If you need help with a matter involving alimony in Somerset County or throughout Northern New Jersey, contact Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law, today for a consultation. Ms. Wagner will fight for your financial stability, your family, and your rights.