The Five Types of Alimony in New Jersey
Spousal support, and specifically the nature and purpose of spousal support, is one of the most hotly-debated family law topics of our day. Some advocates believe these payments should help obligees become economically self-sufficient, and that’s it. Others think alimony should permanently equalize the standard of living between the former spouses. For the most part, New Jersey’s alimony law balances these two extremes.
Whatever your perspective, it’s clear that both obligors (people paying support) and obligees (people receiving support) have legal and financial rights. Unless a Somerset alimony attorney stands up for these rights, the other side will most likely trample on them.
Overall, judges have a great deal of discretion regarding the amount and duration of payments. That also means that attorneys have a great deal of flexibility when crafting out-of-court property settlements.
Temporary Spousal Support
Alimony pendente lite (while the case is pending) helps obligees meet immediate expenses, such as rental deposits, and divorce-related costs, like attorneys’ fees. Most judges only award temporary alimony if the obligee is financially dependent on the obligor. In these cases, temporary alimony might be substantial, at least for the first few months.
Like other forms of alimony, either party can modify temporary support payments if financial or other relevant circumstances substantially change.
Limited Duration Support
Alimony pendente lite automatically terminates when the judge finalizes the divorce. Sometimes, financially dependent obligees need a little more time to get on their feet. So, the next level of spousal support is basically extended temporary alimony. For example, job searches typically last at least several months. And, if unemployment is high, the obligee might have more difficulty finding a good full-time job.
For some obligees, financial independence requires more than sending out resumes. Perhaps they must complete a degree or take a low-paying internship to merge back into the workforce. In these situations, rehabilitative alimony might be appropriate. Judges normally require these obligees to submit, and stick to, written rehabilitation plans.
Remarriage is often an issue in longer-term support modifications. Remarriage usually terminates alimony payments. If the obligee is in a supportive relationship with another person, that relationship might be tantamount to remarriage for alimony purposes.
Reimbursement Spousal Support
Judges do not award this type of alimony very often. It’s usually available if one spouse forsook career advancement to be a caregiver for a certain period of time and the marriage ended before that spouse could reap any financial reward.
For example, Mike might stay home with the kids while Jill goes to medical school. If Jill divorces Mike before her practice becomes profitable, Mike might be entitled to reimbursement. The problem is that Jill, who just started her practice, might not have the means to pay such support. So, these matters are rather complex.
These payments are even less common. Furthermore, they are very rarely “permanent.” Instead, they normally terminate when the conditions giving rise to the payments change.
What are these conditions, you ask? Frequently, obligees are unable to work outside the home because they have custody of a minor disabled child. When the child turns 18, those circumstances might change.
Connect with an Experienced Attorney
Several different types of alimony are available. For a confidential consultation with an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer, contact Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law. We routinely handle matters in Somerset County and nearby jurisdictions.