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.