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New Jersey Types of Alimony

If you are considering a divorce or dissolution of a civil union, or are already in the midst of one of these proceedings, you may be wondering whether or not alimony will be an issue in your case. In New Jersey, courts base spousal support awards on various factors. These alimony and spousal support factors are set out in detail in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b).

Because New Jersey law provides for several different types of alimony, determining whether or not one or more of these types is appropriate in any individual case can be a complicated process. While each type of alimony serves a unique purpose, in some cases more than one type may be appropriate. Some of the different types of alimony can be combined for varying periods of time. Under certain circumstances, most types of support can also be modified in amount or duration.

The following is a brief overview of the different types of alimony in New Jersey and the different purposes each one serves.

Types of New Jersey Alimony

  • Pendente lite alimony. Courts award pendente lite alimony, also known as temporary alimony, early in the divorce process in an effort to maintain each spouse in the same financial position that existed prior to the divorce (the status quo). There is little or no emphasis on factors that may come into play later in the process, such as each spouse's future ability to earn or the potential impact of marital property distribution. Alimony pendente lite terminates automatically once a divorce is final. It may be replaced by one or more of the other types of alimony.
  • Permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is the most traditional form of alimony and was once the most common; however, it is now typically awarded only after a long-term marriage. The primary purpose of permanent alimony is to provide a spouse who lacks the ability to become self-supporting with the means to live a lifestyle reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage.
  • Limited duration alimony. This type of alimony is also sometimes called durational alimony or term alimony, because it provides for payments to be made for a specified number of months or years. A limited duration alimony award has the same purpose as a permanent alimony award, but the start date and end date of a limited duration alimony award are fixed in advance. In general, courts order limited duration alimony if application of the statutory factors justifies an alimony award, but the marriage was too brief for an award of permanent alimony.
  • Rehabilitative alimony. Just as the title implies, this type of alimony has the purpose of rehabilitating a spouse who needs financial support to reintegrate into the workforce. Courts order rehabilitative alimony for a specific period of time to help a lower earning spouse obtain tools necessary to become self-supporting. It may cover costs of education, training, and living expenses during the reintegration period.
  • Reimbursement alimony. This type of alimony reimburses one spouse for financial contributions to the education or career advancement of the other. Although reimbursement alimony can be combined with either limited duration or permanent alimony, it is more common when there is little basis for either of these other alimony types, because, for example, the marriage was too brief, or the marital standard of living was relatively low while the supported spouse was attending school. The spouse who contributed financially to education or training that both spouses expected to benefit from in the future is entitled to repayment of contributions. Reimbursement alimony can include tuition and costs of living expended by a student spouse, as well as any other costs related to obtaining a degree or training.

Alimony Case Studies

While it can be helpful to see what courts have done in cases similar to your own, remember that there is no such thing as certainty in alimony predictions. Individual judges take different factors into account and results can be unexpected. Our alimony case studies may give you some idea of what kind of factors a court is likely to consider in your case in situations such as the following:

Alimony Case Study examples:

  • Permanent Alimony: Long-Term Marriage with Stay-at-Home Mother
  • Limited Duration Alimony: Intermediate Length Marriage with Higher-Earning Wife
  • Limited Duration Alimony: Intermediate Length Marriage with Two Working Parents
  • No Alimony: Shorter Marriage with Equal Earning Power

Alimony is an issue that can impact your financial situation for many years into the future. For more information, contact us, we are here to help.

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