Alimony - also called spousal support - refers to cash payments made by one ex-spouse to the other upon divorce or legal separation. Alimony is not always guaranteed; instead, it's determined on a need basis. Most states have laws providing a general guide for how decisions relating to alimony awards are made.
Determining Alimony in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the decision to award alimony is based on a variety of factors. For marriages or civil unions that have lasted less than 20 years, the duration of alimony won't exceed the length of the marriage or civil union unless there are exceptional circumstances. For example, an ex-spouse has a chronic illness and needs financial support.
It's also possible to receive palimony - financial support for exes who were never married - in New Jersey. However, as per New Jersey's statute of frauds, palimony is only awarded in cases where the couple had a signed written agreement in which one party agreed to pay the other such support.
New Jersey Alimony Laws at a Glance
The following chart provides a summary of New Jersey alimony laws in plain English, as well as links to the relevant statutes. Please remember that it's important to also read the actual text of laws when conducting legal research.
||New Jersey Statutes 2A Section 34-23, et seq. (Alimony and Maintenance)
|Types of Alimony
The court can order any of the following types of alimony (separately or in any combination):
- Open durational alimony: this type of alimony is paid for as long as the recipient has a valid reason why they can't support themselves.
- Rehabilitative alimony: this is short-term assistance that's paid to help the recipient get training and/or education so that they can earn a reasonable income.
- Limited duration alimony: this usually applies to marriages that are short-term, especially when the recipient is young and employable.
- Reimbursement alimony: this is a specific monetary amount meant to pay back the spouse who supported the advanced education of the other spouse. The support could've been taking care of the family and/or paying tuition.
|Factors to Determine if Alimony Should Be Awarded
In determining if alimony should be awarded, the court considers a variety of factors* including:
- The need and ability of the parties to pay;
- The duration of the marriage or civil union;
- The earning capacities of each party;
- The parental responsibilities for the children;
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties; and
- Each party's contributions (financial or non-financial) to the marriage or civil union.
*Please see the statute for a complete list of factors.
|Who Cannot Receive Alimony?
A person is unable to receive alimony if they have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, criminal homicide, aggravated assault under New Jersey's criminal laws (or similar crimes in another jurisdiction), if:
- The crime results in serious bodily injury or death to a family member of a divorcing party; and
- The crime was committed after the marriage or civil union.
Additionally, a person who's convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to commit murder cannot receive alimony from a person who was the intended victim.
New Jersey Statutes 2A Section 34-1, et seq. (Causes for Nullification and Divorce)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
New Jersey Alimony Laws: Related Resources
If you'd like more information related to this topic, you can visit the links below.
Get Legal Help Understanding New Jersey Alimony Laws
Whether your ex is claiming that you owe alimony or you believe that you're entitled to support, alimony proceedings will have a direct affect on your finances. Speak to a local divorce lawyer to find out how New Jersey alimony laws affect your particular situation.