When a party believes that they have a need for financial assistance from the other party, alimony can be requested. As with child support, the Court can award temporary alimony (alimony pendente lite) until the final divorce hearing is held, at which time a final alimony amount may be ordered. An alimony determination will factor in the length of the marriage. There are different forms of alimony.

Permanent alimony is generally for long-duration marriages if the statutory criteria are met. In the award of permanent alimony the court must make findings that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable.

A judge may also award limited duration alimony based on financial need, for as long as it takes you to become self-supporting.

Another form of alimony is rehabilitative alimony. The requesting spouse must submit to the court the steps to be taken for rehabilitation, the time frame, and a period of employment to occur during the rehabilitation period. Rehabilitative alimony is intended to help you get back on your feet and provide training and education so that you can be self-supporting.

The last form of alimony a Court can award is reimbursement alimony which is intended to compensates a spouse who supported the other spouse through advanced education, and who expected to enjoy the fruits of that labor, but was not able to because of the divorce or legal separation.

The courts have the authority and may award any combination of these types of alimony. This means that if the court makes an order for rehabilitative spousal support, it can also order reimbursement alimony, as well as limited duration alimony.

It is also important to keep in mind that when determining the amount and duration of an award for alimony, the judge will look at several different factors, including:

  • the requesting spouse’s actual needs and the other spouse’s ability to pay
  • the duration of the marriage
  • each spouse’s age and physical and emotional health
  • each spouse's income, earning capacity, education level, and employability
  • the standard of living during marriage
  • parental responsibilities
  • the time and expense necessary to obtain education or training for the dependent spouse to become self-supporting, and
  • each spouse’s financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage.

There are no specific alimony calculators or guidelines for support in New Jersey and the court will make a decision based on the factors listed above.

It is also important to consider that a judge may modify alimony orders if there is a change in circumstances. If the court made an order based on an event that it assumed would occur, but the event did not occur, then it may modify the order—for example, if the supported spouse was not able to be rehabilitated within the expected time, or was not able to find a job to become self-supporting, the court can change the initial order in certain circumstances. The parties can also equally agree in any agreement that alimony will be non-modifiable no matter the “changed circumstance.”

If the recipient spouse remarries or enters into a New Jersey civil union, the other spouse must be informed and alimony payments can be stopped. (However, the supporting spouse must pay any arrearages (late payments) that have accumulated.) Remarriage only terminates limited duration and permanent alimony. Rehabilitative and reimbursement alimony will continue even if the dependent spouse remarries or enters into a civil union, unless the judge orders otherwise. The death of either spouse will terminate all forms of alimony and that is a primary reason why Court’s usually require the payor to obtain life insurance to secure his or her payments.

Any payments of alimony are tax deductible to the paying spouse and reportable as income by the receiving spouse.