When parties go through the process of divorce, alimony, or spousal support, is often a hot topic. Spousal support is not always justified depending on the circumstances of the marriage. Divorcing couples should consider what type of spousal support is appropriate for their situation. The four types of alimony are permanent, limited duration, rehabilitative, and reimbursement.
People who are getting divorced misunderstand the terms of permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is not always permanent. It can be adjusted or terminated if either income changes significantly. Usually, permanent alimony is awarded when long-term marriages end and one spouse cannot reasonably maintain the standard of living the marriage established without the financial support of the other. Commonly, this type of alimony will be awarded when both parties were working at the start of the marriage and one party ended employment to stay at home to take care of the children as the other party’s career progressed and flourished. In most cases like this, the parent who stayed at home cannot be expected to progress to the financial stability of the working parent and will not be able to maintain the standard of living the marriage established without support.
People who get divorced after short-term marriages or marriages where one spouse will be able to reasonably progress to the established standard of living with limited financial support may be entitled to limited duration alimony. Limited duration alimony is financial support for a limited time period while one party establishes an even capacity to earn.
Similar to limited duration alimony, rehabilitative alimony is also set for a limited time period. This is implemented when one spouse would need financial assistance to continue education, start a business, or begin other ventures that will establish the standard of living they became accustomed to during the marriage. This alimony usually ends once they are able to establish steady income in the time allotted for the financial support.
In some cases, a spouse might work in order to support the other while they gain higher education or start a business. As both partners worked towards one goal, it is reasonable to consider them both entitled to the same financial benefit of the education or business venture. Reimbursement alimony is the repayment of financial support for the time and expenses during the marriage where one supported the other in the venture where both would have profited.
In September of 2014, the New Jersey Alimony laws changed drastically. If you are one of the many people who have court-ordered alimony payments before the laws changed, unfortunately, your order for alimony stands and the new laws cannot change the terms of your situation. The laws state that there is now a rebuttable presumption that alimony payments can end when the payer comes to full retirement age, which is presently 67 years of age. A judge may also end alimony payments when the paid spouse begins living with a partner, married or not. If the payer is out of work for 90 days or more, the judge can lower the alimony payments if deemed necessary. Lastly, the terms of the alimony payments cannot exceed the years the couple was married if the marriage lasted less than 20 years. The new laws point towards one very important change; alimony is no longer a permanent right or responsibility. Circumstances can change for both parties and alimony should reflect that change. These laws are highly contested. Payers want more laws to protect their rights and don’t believe the laws stretch far enough. The paid believe the laws strip them of the support they are entitled to as they age and become more financially vulnerable. Obviously, people with court-ordered alimony payments ordered before the laws changed are not pleased that these laws won’t be considered retroactive. With convenient locations in Cherry Hill and New Brunswick, New Jersey, we are strategically situated to serve clients across the state. Contact us for a consultation at our New Jersey Office Location.