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Alimony - Changes in the Law in New Jersey

New Jersey Law previously permitted two types of alimony, permanent and/or rehabilitative. The law has recently changed (September 1999) and the amended statute provides for four types of alimony.

  • Limited duration alimony;
  • Permanent alimony;
  • Reimbursement alimony;
  • Rehabilitative alimony.

Limited duration alimony means that alimony will cease on a certain date.

Permanent alimony will cease upon the death of the husband, death of the wife or remarriage of the wife.

Reimbursement alimony is intended to reimburse one party who supported the other party through an advanced education. It is assumed that the supporting party anticipated participation in the fruits of the earning capacity generated by the education. Basically, this is an attempt to reimburse the person who did not go to school for an advanced degree because they will not benefit from the increased salary or earnings of the person who received the degree.

Rehabilitative alimony is alimony that is paid until the spouse is reasonably able to support herself.

The statute added three new factors to the ten prior factors which must be considered in a request for alimony. The 13 factors are as follow:

  • Parental responsibility.
  • Income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party.
  • The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the awarded alimony.
  • The actual need and ability of the parties to pay.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The age, physical and emotional health of the parties.
  • The standard of living established in the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living.
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills and employability of the parties
  • The length of absence from the job market and custodial responsibilities for children of the party seeking maintenance.
  • 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.
  • The history of the financial or nonfinancial contributions to the marriage by each party, including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities.
  • The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payout on equitable distribution directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair.
  • Any other factors which the Court may deem relevant.

There are no monetary guidelines for alimony in New Jersey. The amount of alimony is determined by reviewing the respective budgets of the parties, the child support, college contributions of the parties, each parties earnings and earning capabilities and the 13 factors.


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New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the division of property in a divorce is to be done fairly, not necessarily equally. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing property, but it must consider certain factors, such as how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals, among others.
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