If you have concerns about supporting yourself after divorce, you may be eligible for spousal support. In New Jersey, either spouse can request alimony payments as part of a divorce agreement.
Explore the factors that affect whether and how the court will award spousal support in New Jersey.
Types of alimony
State law recognizes several different types of alimony. You can request temporary or pendente lite alimony, which continues until the divorce is final. Limited-duration alimony gives the requesting spouse time to become self-supporting after the divorce and comes with certain requirements. Similarly, rehabilitative alimony is a time-limited arrangement that allows the requesting spouse to pursue job education or training.
Reimbursement alimony covers the costs of financial support the requesting spouse provided the other spouse during the marriage. For example, if you paid the household bills while your partner attended law school, you can request this type of support. Permanent alimony, which has no specific end date, is rare except when the marriage lasted longer than two decades.
Unlike in some other states, New Jersey does not have a specific formula to determine spousal support. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a fair arrangement, the judge presiding over your case will make a decision based on the following:
- Whether one spouse needs support to remain self-sufficient
- Whether the other spouse can afford to pay alimony
- The length of the marriage
- The earning capacity and career prospects of each spouse
- The lifestyle of the couple during the marriage
- Both financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage
- Whether either couple has custody of minor children from the marriage
Length of support
As of legal changes in 2014, alimony in New Jersey cannot last longer than the marriage. For example, if you and your spouse were together for five years, spousal support must end before the five-year mark. However, the judge may order open-ended alimony for marriages that exceeded 20 years or in cases where one spouse cannot become self-supporting because of chronic mental or physical illness.