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Alimony is a payment made from one spouse to the other in the context of a divorce. This payment can either be given directly to the person receiving the support or it can be made to a third party, such as a utility company or a mortgage lender.
Alimony comes in various different forms in New Jersey and to understand whether you should be paying support or entitled to receive support, you should consult an attorney.
In New Jersey, any person is eligible to receive alimony. Unlike with child support, there are no alimony guidelines. The courts typically look at a variety of factors when determining how much support should be paid, if any. Typically, they will look at who was earning what at the time the parties separated to see if there is a difference in incomes. Other factors that determine if any spousal support will be awarded may include:
The duration of an alimony obligation will depend on the judgment of divorce. Typically, parties resolve their divorce cases by settlement, which may memorialize an exact date for ending alimony payments. This date generally cannot be extended except for in rare circumstances.
If there is no set date for ending a payment obligation, it is called opened durational alimony. To end an obligation in these cases, parties must return to court and address their specific circumstances, such as retirement or termination from employment. If you are concerned about the duration of your alimony, it is best to consult a nearby attorney.
Alimony can be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. If somebody has a significant increase or decrease in their earnings that is enduring in nature, the court may modify the spousal support.
For termination, the court may consider factors such as retirement, relocation, or a change in economic needs. If you are seeking to modify or terminate a spousal support obligation in Short Hills, it is important to first consult an experienced lawyer.
There are very limited circumstances when the court will bar the payment of support from one party to another. This could include cases involving egregious fault, such as if a party is convicted of a crime against their spouse. In this scenario, the convicted partner may be barred from receiving support. For questions about individual circumstances, it is best to discuss with an attorney who handles alimony cases.
To qualify for an increase in support, the court will look at what each party is currently earning and what they were making at the time of divorce. You may be entitled to an increase if your former spouse is earning more money, but that is not automatic.
The court will want to know about your marital lifestyle at the time the support was paid. If you were able to meet all your expenses at the time you divorced, the court may deny an increase in alimony even if your former spouse increased their earnings. On the other hand, if you are not able to meet the marital lifestyle, the court may award you additional support if your former spouse is now earning more income. To determine whether you qualify for an increase in support, ask a skilled lawyer about your personal circumstances.
Because there are no guidelines for alimony in New Jersey, the awarding of spousal support varies on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions about alimony in Short Hills, talk to a seasoned member of our legal team. An experienced attorney could assess your situation and advise you on how to seek a positive outcome to your case. Call today for a consultation.