Is Fault Considered When Deciding on Awarding Alimony in My Divorce?

The New Jersey divorce courts investigate numerous factors before awarding alimony in your divorce case. There are also several types of alimony the courts may consider depending on the unique circumstances of you and your spouse.

For example, some of the factors they may consider are your spouse’s age and earning capacity, which one of you provided the primary support, and more. The courts also may consider equitable distribution of marital property, and even specific investments that could mature in future years.

When determining if they should award alimony and how much, the New Jersey courts first recognize that each marriage (or possible civil unions) differs.

However, one of the things the court doesn’t consider is marital fault and who may be “to blame” for your divorce. So, even if you behaved poorly and contributed to your divorce, you may still be able to obtain alimony if the court decides you need it.

Even if you had an affair, your infidelity plays no part in the award of alimony.

Rare cases exist where marital fault causes financial hardship and economic damage. If this can be proven, your alimony may be increased or reduced based on the amount of the financial negative impact your actions caused.

There also are stipulations that forbid the paying of alimony to any spouse who committed a severe crime, such as murder or assault against their spouse or a family member.

So, whatever the root cause of your divorce, it commonly won’t matter to the court when deciding on your alimony. However, every case differs, and if you need or desire alimony in your divorce, a Morris County divorce lawyer’s advice and knowledgeable legal guidance are mandatory for your success. Alimony can be a complex legal issue in New Jersey, and you never want to face this task alone.

Are There Different Types of Alimony I May Be Awarded in New Jersey?

The simple answer is yes; the New Jersey courts consider a few different types of alimony. What kind you receive depends on your situation, previous relationship, and more.

Some examples of the different types of alimony the New Jersey court may consider are;

  • Pendente Lite alimony –  If you are an unemployed or low-earning spouse, you can receive this alimony to help cover your general living expenses during your divorce proceedings.
  • Limited duration alimony – This type of alimony is based on the number of years you have been married, if it is less than twenty years.  If you have been married more than twenty years you may have open durational alimony or limited duration alimony, depending on your circumstances
  • Open duration alimony – If you have been married for more than twenty years you will qualify for Open durational alimony.   If you request Open duration alimony, the New Jersey court will examine many factors to determine if you’re qualified to receive it.  The length of the alimony may also be impacted by  the retirement of the paying spouse, depending on the circumstances. 
  • Rehabilitative alimony – If you’re requesting this type of alimony, you must submit all the steps for your rehabilitation, the time this rehabilitation may need, and possibly more.
  • Reimbursement alimony – Let’s say you’ve supported your spouse through their education, and they are doing well due to your efforts. This type of alimony may compensate you for the time and funds you contributed on their behalf.

You see that alimony requests can become legally complex. Additionally, one of the above types of alimony could be awarded. To successfully structure an alimony case before the New Jersey courts, the help of a knowledgeable, experienced Morris County divorce lawyer will prove invaluable to your success.

What May the New Jersey Courts Consider When Determining the Amount of Alimony?

New Jersey doesn’t have any detailed or specific alimony guidelines to help determine the amount of alimony support you may receive. Accordingly, this is a critical reason to have competent, experienced, and aggressive legal support. Your Morris County divorce lawyer will know how and what information to use to get you the alimony funds you need and deserve.

That said, some of the information the court may consider when determining your amount is;

  • As the requesting spouse, you have unique financial needs and your spouse’s ability to fund those needs.
  • How long has your union or marriage lasted, what are your ages, and what is your physical and emotional health?
  • This income of both of you, as well as your current earning capacity, education, and overall employability,
  • The standard of living you enjoyed during your marriage and the parental responsibilities you now must incur.
  • The time and finances needed for your training (or education) for you to now become self-supporting.
  • Both of you made financial and non-financial contributions during your marriage, and possibly much more.

What If My Former Spouse Simply Refuses to Work. Must I Pay Alimony?

This is a more common question than you may think. Still, the New Jersey court will generally never allow your spouse to collect alimony nor avoid paying it by voluntarily working less or not working at all. Sometimes, the court may “impute” income and assign a specific amount that your unemployed or under-employed spouse should earn based on their past earnings.

That said, your ex-spouse can’t avoid paying alimony, but if circumstances arise that affect their income, their payment could be reduced or increased; this must be with the court’s approval. So, your payment can be changed if you have a valid reason to ask for an increase. Examples of a few reasons you may be due an increase are for a cost-of-living adjustment, becoming disabled or ill, unemployed, and more.

Your skilled and empathetic divorce lawyer will know precisely how to approach the court on this arguable matter, and therefore, with their help, you have the best chance of success.

I Have Questions On Alimony Pertaining to My Divorce; What Should I Do?

Whether you are asking for alimony or must pay it, you must discuss your situation with an experienced Morris County divorce lawyer. Your lawyer will analyze your unique situation and strategize on a plan that allows you to live a post-divorce life close to what you enjoyed during your marriage.

The Morris County-based Edens Law Group has trusted, empathetic, knowledgeable divorce lawyers who thoroughly know the proper preparation necessary for any alimony case.

Call them today for a case evaluation at (908) 529-0353, and know that you will get the information you need, and your case will be managed with diligence, personal service, and the tireless commitment required.