Alimony is typically awarded when one spouse earns significantly more than the other and the other spouse needs support to maintain the marital lifestyle after the divorce.
The New Jersey Alimony statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23, provides the following.
b.In all actions brought for divorce, dissolution of a civil union, divorce from bed and board, legal separation from a partner in a civil union couple or nullity the court may award one or more of the following types of alimony: open durational alimony; rehabilitative alimony; limited duration alimony or reimbursement alimony to either party. In so doing the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors.
(1)The actual need and ability of the parties to pay.
(2)The duration of the marriage or civil union.
(3)The age, physical and emotional health of the parties.
(4)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.
(5)The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties.
(6)The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance.
(7)The parental responsibilities for the children.
(8)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.
(9)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.
(10) 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.
(11) The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party.
(12) 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.
(13) The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any.
(14) Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.
Alimony is one of the most fiercely contested issues in a divorce. It is usually contested because there is no statutory formula to calculate the alimony amount or the terms. But the goal is to ensure that one spouse does not suffer a disproportionate negative consequence from the creation of two households from one.