Who Gets Alimony and Why

Financial issues are at the very center of many divorces.  Divorce is frequently one of the most emotionally and financially difficult times in a person’s life.  When people are married, they combine resources and finances to provide for their current needs while also preparing for their future.  In many cases, spouses make approximately the same amount of income and equally share the responsibility of providing financial resources for the family.  However, sometimes one spouse makes a much larger share of the income or one spouse is a stay at home parent.  In those cases, alimony may be appropriate.  If you are facing a divorce, you need to understand who may get alimony and why the court may make such an award.

One of the keys to understanding alimony is to understand that there is not a regular formula for alimony, as there is for child support.  There is not a definitive law saying one category of individuals are eligible for an award while others are not.  Instead, the court will look to a list of factors contained in New Jersey statute § 2A:34-23.  These factors include such issues as the income and assets of each party, the earning capacity of each party, the age of each party, the need of the requesting party, and the ability to pay alimony of the potentially paying party.  The length of the marriage and whether the requesting party will be the primary caregiver for the parties’ minor children are also two very important factors.  The court will take these and other factors into account to decide not only whether alimony should be awarded, but also how much alimony should be awarded.

There is also an issue of why a party would be awarded alimony.  There is an incorrect understanding that alimony will only be awarded to help the requesting party maintain his or her standard of living.  This is not entirely accurate, although that is one issue the court will consider.  One reason the court may award alimony is to help the requesting party raise his or her earning capacity by going back to school and seeking a new career path.  Alimony may also be awarded to help an economically disadvantaged party to make ends meet while they are raising the parties’ minor children.  In short, the purpose of alimony is not to allow the requesting party to “get rich.”  Instead, it is to help equalize assets and help the requesting party get back on his or her feet.  Only in rare circumstances where the parties have been married for a long period of time will the court be likely to consider awarding alimony for a long duration or until the requesting party is deceased.

If you are facing divorce, you need to understand the financial implications of alimony and property division.  Contact us today for a consultation.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation

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