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iandoli & edens, llc

Is all alimony the same? Yes, to the extent that money paid and received is just that: money.  However, different types of alimony serve different purposes.

There is pendente lite alimony.  This is support that is paid prior to the divorce being finalized.  It’s paid during the litigation process.  It is a temporary financial solution to maintain the status quo until such time as all of the issues in the case can be resolved and the Final Judgment of Divorce is entered.

There is open durational alimony and limited duration alimony. These two types of alimony serve the same purpose but for different durations.  It is to help the financially dependent spouse maintain, as much as possible, a comparable lifestyle after the marriage that they enjoyed during the marriage.  It is assumed under such an award that the financially dependent spouse is never going to be able to reach the same level of earnings at the supporting spouse and that alimony is necessary.  Whether it’s open duration or limited is discussed in the previous blog in this series.

There is rehabilitative alimony. This form of alimony is paid to a dependent spouse in hopes that he or she will be able to increase their earning capacity after a period of time; and ultimately become less dependent on the supporting spouse.  In order to be awarded rehabilitative alimony the dependent spouse should provide a plan that shows the “the scope of rehabilitation, the steps to be taken, and the time frame, including a period of employment during which rehabilitation will occur.” N.J.S.A.d. Rehabilitative alimony can be modified based on changed circumstances or the nonoccurrence of certain circumstances the Court thought would occur at the time the award was made.  All forms of alimony, except for reimbursement alimony which is addressed below, are modifiable as to amount.

The final form is reimbursement alimony. “Reimbursement alimony may be awarded under circumstances in which one party supported the other through an advanced education, anticipating participation in the fruits of the earning capacity generated by that education. An award of reimbursement alimony shall not be modified for any reason.”  N.J.S.A.e.

If you have any questions regarding alimony and how it relates to your case we are available to discuss your concerns with you, please call our firm at 908-879-9499.

 

iandoli & edens, llc

This week’s alimony lesson is about duration.  An often asked question is:  How long will the alimony award last? The length of the alimony award is dependent on the statutory factors that were addressed in last week’s blog.  A Court is compelled to consider and make specific findings of fact based on evidence related to all of the statutory factors.  That means that every alimony award, both in amount and duration, is specific to the facts of your case.  An award of alimony involves the application of all the statutory factors to the realities of your life.  The Court is pursuant to statute to consider “the practical impact of the parties’ need for separate residents and the attendant increase in living expenses on the ability of both parties to maintain a standard of living reasonably comparable to the standard of living established in the marriage or civil union, to which both parties are entitled, with neither party having a greater entitlement thereto.”  N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(c)  The Court in determining an alimony amount is given an almost impossible task – It is supposed to take the same amount of money and divide it between two households so that both parties can enjoy the same standard of living.  It’s also given the task that is the focus of this blog – For how long should an alimony award last?

We know that pursuant to N.J.S.2A:34-23, the New Jersey Alimony Statute, that barring exceptional circumstances that the duration of your alimony will not exceed the duration of your marriage if you’ve been married less than 20 years. Those exceptional circumstances are:

  • The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage or civil union and at the time of the alimony award.
  • The degree and duration of the dependency of one party on the other party during the marriage or civil union.
  • Whether a spouse or partner has a chronic illness or unusual health circumstance.
  • Whether a spouse or partner has given up a career or a career opportunity or otherwise supported the career of the other spouse or partner
  • Whether a spouse or partner has received a disproportionate share of equitable distribution.
  • The impact of the marriage or civil union on either party’s ability to become self-supporting, including but not limited to either party’s responsibility as primary caretaker of a child.
  • Tax considerations of either party.
  • Any other factors or circumstances that the court deems equitable, relevant and material.

If the marriage is less than 20 years in duration determining the appropriate length of an alimony award takes careful review of the all of the alimony factors mean and how those factors are applied to your case. You certainly do not have to be married for 20 years to qualify for alimony – alimony might be appropriate when the parties have been married only a very short time.  The duration of the marriage is only one of the 13 statutory factors the Court considers.  If you have any questions regarding alimony and how it relates to your case we are available to discuss your concerns with you, please call our firm at 908-879-9499.

iandoli & edens, llc

There have been many articles and blogs recently about how alimony is going to change under the new tax law (known as the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act).  We thought it might be time to do a quick recap of what alimony is.  Often professionals, including family law attorneys, forget that the terms that we use every day are not so familiar to others.  So here is your crash course.

Alimony in its simplest terms is the payment of support from the paying spouse to the receiving spouse.  If there is a significant disparity in income between the two parties then alimony is likely.  Many misconceptions about alimony exist.  For example, that alimony is always paid by the husband to the wife.  Or that if one party had an extra-marital affair that the other party does not have to pay alimony.  Or if you have a job of your own you won’t receive alimony.  None of these are true.  The most important thing to remember is your alimony award is specific to your case.  Alimony under N.J.S.2A:34-23, the New Jersey Alimony Statue, is based upon 13 individually identified factors plus anything else the Court may deem relevant.  The identified factors are:

  • The actual need and ability of the parties to pay.
  • The duration of the marriage or civil union.
  • The age, physical and emotional health of the parties.
  • The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other.
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties.
  • The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance.
  • The parental responsibilities for the children.
  • The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income.
  • The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities.
  • The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair.
  • The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party.
  • The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment.
  • The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support (temporary support with the divorce is pending) paid, if any.

Determining what these factors mean to our client’s cases is a big part of how we spend our time. If you have any questions regarding alimony and how it relates to your case we are available to discuss your concerns with you, please call our firm at 908-879-9499.

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