Alimony & Spousal Support

Breitowich Law Firm is here to help secure your financial future in the case of a divorce or separation.

Yes, men can also receive alimony.  The statute is not gender or role specific.  Any spouse that qualifies may receive the award. 

For marriages of less than 20 years, open durational alimony (alimony without a specified ending date) is not appropriate, and alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage. There are, however, a few exceptions to this. These exceptional cases are listed as the following: 

  1. The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage or civil union and at the time of the alimony award;
  2. The degree and duration of the dependency of one party on the other party during the marriage or civil union;
  3. Whether a spouse or partner has a chronic illness or unusual health circumstance;
  4. 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;
  5. Whether a spouse or partner has received a disproportionate share of equitable distribution;
  6. 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;
  7. Tax considerations of either party;
  8. Any other factors or circumstances that the court deems equitable, relevant and material.

Under most circumstances, when a party does not receive alimony during a divorce it is either because they agreed that they don’t need it (waived their right to receive it) or a Court determined by way of a trial that it was not appropriate. If someone waives alimony, it is a permanent waiver and they cannot come back to the Court to change that request at any time no matter what the circumstances- if your ex wins the lottery, if they get a job earning 10 times what they were earning, if you lose your job the very next day, if you become disabled, etc. However, if the court orders no alimony to be awarded at the conclusion of trial, it would depend specifically as to what was stated in the Court’s decision which would determine if alimony could be sought at a later date.

While there is no standard format used to calculate the awarded amount and duration of an award for spousal support in New Jersey, there are a number of different factors that courts are required to consider in their determination. These factors, as outlined by New Jersey’s alimony statute (NJSA 34 N.J.S.2A:34-23), are as follows:

  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; and
  13. The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any; and
  14. Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

*Any judge who places more importance on certain factors than on others is required to explain the reasons for this in writing. 

In September of 2014, the legislature added additional factors that courts must look at in addition to the factors above, which include:

  • The practical impact of the parties’ need for separate residences
  • 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.

Alimony & Spousal Support with Sylvia

Going through a separation or divorce is daunting enough as is. The allocation of funds through Alimony (or “Spousal Support”) is an additional headache that looms over many that find themselves in this already complex and difficult situation. We at Breitowich Law Firm are here to take that additional burden off your plate so you can rest assured that your financial future lies in competent and caring hands and works well for both parties.