New Jersey Alimony Laws and Guidelines: All About Spousal Support in “NJ”

The alimony laws governing spousal support in New Jersey is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the NJ alimony law.

Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Garden State, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.

Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.

This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.

All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.

Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in NJ

types of alimony

Types of alimony in New Jersey

In New Jersey, the courts can award one of five types of assistance (or any combination of them). In most circumstances, alimony in NJ is mostly temporary.

However, if you and your spouse have been married for more than twenty years, you may be eligible for permanent support if you were married for less than 20 years, New Jersey law limits the duration of alimony you can get to the length of your marriage.

Even temporary assistance, on the other hand, can give the spouse with a lesser salary or less earning potential the time to become financially self-sufficient.

Limited Duration Alimony in New Jersey

In circumstances where the supported spouse requires time to become self-sufficient following the divorce, judges in NJ will order limited-duration alimony. The court will usually include a set of support terms that the spouse must follow or the award will be terminated.

This type of spousal support usually applies to short-term marriages, particularly when the recipient spouse is young and still employable.

Open Duration Alimony in NJ

Open duration support (or Permanent alimony) in New Jersey is less prevalent than the others, and it is usually reserved for long-term marriages in which one spouse is unable to support themselves. Despite the name, financial assistance is rarely permanent and only lasts as long as the beneficiary can demonstrate that financial independence is impossible.

New Jersey modified its alimony system in 2014. The elimination of “permanent” alimony was one of the most significant developments. In most circumstances, alimony cannot endure longer than the duration of the marriage.

Rehabilitative Spousal Support in New Jersey

In circumstances where the dependent spouse requires short-term financial assistance while pursuing job training or education that will contribute to employment and financial autonomy, rehabilitative alimony is possible. The recipient must demonstrate the nature of rehabilitation, the procedures required, and the duration of the support to the court.

Reimbursement Spousal Support in NJ

If one spouse bankrolled the other through advanced education or training during the marriage and anticipated to profit from the education, the court will grant reimbursement alimony. For instance, if you paid for your spouse’s medical school education but separated before you could profit financially from this, the court may force your spouse to repay you.

Temporary Spousal Support in New Jersey

While the divorce is proceeding, temporary support (pendente lite) is the only option in New Jersey courts. When one spouse is financially reliant on the other and needs assistance to cover living expenses during the divorce, the court will grant interim support.

Palimony in New Jersey

Palimony is a word used in New Jersey to describe support provided to a spouse who does not have an entitlement to alimony or spousal support. Though it is not a legal term, it is frequently paid when a couple who has been living together without a legal marriage or civil union ends their partnership.

Even when obligations are shared in such a way that one partner is financially dependent on the other, unmarried couples are not obligated to pay support. Because there is no marriage, the property is not distributed through a marital property agreement.

It is, nevertheless, permissible for one spouse to willingly adopt a contractual duty to provide future assistance or property rights to the other.

If one of the following is true, you may have a plausible New Jersey “palimony” claim:

  • A written cohabitation or partnership agreement was signed by your partner.
  • Prior to January 18, 2010, you and your partner had a verbal cohabitation or partnership arrangement.

Palimony claims are complicated, and each case is different. To discuss your case, please contact one of our experienced family law attorneys.

Who Pays Alimony in New Jersey?

In New Jersey alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.

Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Garden State is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.

So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in New Jersey if the above conditions are met.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in NJ?

How Long To Pay Alimony

The judge will decide how long the alimony payment should last in New Jersey

The duration to pay alimony in New Jersey can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.

As provided by the alimony laws of NJ, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.

How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in New Jersey

When it comes to collecting spousal support in New Jersey, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.

Average Alimony Payment in New Jersey

The average amount payable as spousal support in New Jersey after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”

To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in NJ, the courts in NJ take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:

  • earning capacity of each spouse.
  • the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
  • the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
  • how long the marriage lasted
  • the needs of each spouse
  • the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
  • each party’s tax consequences
  • the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
  • each spouse’s health and age
  • each party’s balance of hardships
  • whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
  • will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
  • any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • any other factors which the court wishes to consider

This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Garden State. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.

How Alimony is Calculated in NJ

How Alimony is Calculated

How Alimony is Calculated in New Jersey

The amount to be paid as spousal support in New Jersey is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator

But to be explicit about how to calculate spousal support in NJ, you may need to consult your spousal support attorney.

>>> New Jersey Spousal Support Calculator

Importance of Using a Skilled New Jersey Spousal Support Attorney

If you’re getting a divorce in New Jersey and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support,
your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. NJ courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.

If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in New Jersey, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.

For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of NJ divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.

Click Here to Get our Free New Jersey Alimony recommendation.

FAQ About New Jersey Alimony Laws

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in NJ:

Can a Husband get Alimony in NJ?

Yes. In New Jersey, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.

Who Qualifies for Alimony in New Jersey?

Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in NJ, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details

How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in NJ?

To understand how long alimony lasts in New Jersey, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.

However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.

Is Alimony Tax Deductible in New Jersey?

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in New Jersey and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income
for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.

Is Alimony Mandatory in Garden State?

Alimony is mandatory in New Jersey as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.

Can Cohabitation end Alimony in NJ?

If you are providing alimony and your recipient spouse marries a new partner, you may be able to avoid having to pay it. Even if your ex doesn’t live with their partner all of the time, this is true.

To establish if your ex is in a cohabiting commitment, which is described as a “mutually supportive, intimate connection,” New Jersey courts look at a number of factors. These include:

  • Whether or not the couple lives together
  • If they share domestic tasks
  • Whether or not they share living expenses
  • The length of their union
  • The length of their union
  • If they have mixed finances
  • Whether the new partner pledged to help the alimony-receiving spouse Additional relevant evidence
  • Whether or not the couple’s family and acquaintances are aware of the relationship

Can Alimony be increased in New Jersey?

Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:

  • an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
  • if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
  •  loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
  • an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
  • when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected

Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in NJ?

Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in New Jersey. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.

If it’s a New Jersey court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in NJ}.

How to Modify Spousal Support in New Jersey?

How to Avoid spousal support

How to Avoid spousal support in New Jersey

When necessary, New Jersey law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in NJ usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.

When filing for a spousal support modification in New Jersey, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in NJ.

The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in New Jersey

  • Retirement
  • Remarriage
  • Relocation
  • Changes in income or employment
  • Birth of a new child
  • Health changes, including disability
  • A new dependent

How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in NJ?

In Garden State, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:

  • that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
  • the spouse proves that he has no source of income
  • the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
  • if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living

Alimony Laws in all 50 States

A Alabama  |  AlaskaArizonaArkansas
C CaliforniaColoradoConnecticut
D-H DelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaii
I IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa
K-L KansasKentuckyLouisiana
M MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontana
NebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota
P-S  PennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth Dakota
T-U  TennesseeTexasUtah
V-W  VermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming