Divorce negotiations in New Jersey and around the country often become contentious when alimony or spousal support is discussed, which is why these matters are frequently left to family law judges to decide. When determining how much alimony should be paid or whether it should be paid at all, judges take a number of factors into consideration. Need is the issue that influences these decisions the most as alimony is awarded to ensure that divorced spouses are not left in unmanageable financial situations.
When weighing alimony decisions, judges determine the needs of the person who will be receiving support and the income of the party who will be making the payments. Judges also consider how long the couple were married, the contributions each spouse made during the marriage and how much each spouse could earn in the future.
When divorcing couples were married for less than 20 years, judges in New Jersey will usually award what is known as limited duration alimony. This is alimony that must only be paid for a certain amount of time, which is usually the duration of the marriage. Open duration alimony is awarded when couples were married for longer than 20 years or when the recipient can provide a valid reason for needing ongoing support. Rehabilitation alimony helps to support spouses while they attend school or undergo job training, and reimbursement alimony repays spouses who supported their husbands or wives while they attended college.
Experienced family law attorneys may seek to settle thorny matters like alimony and property division amicably if possible. When traditional adversarial negotiations fail to provide the desired result, attorneys could suggest alternative venues like collaborative divorce or mediation. If all efforts to reach a negotiated divorce settlement are unproductive, attorneys could argue vigorously on behalf of their clients in court.