People often want to know, “How long does alimony last?” The length of time alimony is paid depends upon the type of alimony. Length of alimony is based on the length of the marriage. There are five types of alimony in New Jersey, which each addresses how long alimony lasts in New Jersey and when alimony ends in New Jersey:
- Open durational alimony used to be referred to as permanent alimony in New Jersey. Open durational alimony does not have a predetermined fixed ending date. However, unless exceptional circumstances exist, open durational alimony can only be ordered after a marriage of at least 20 years and is presumed to end when the paying spouse reaches full retirement age.
- Limited duration alimony is sometimes referred to as durational alimony, or term alimony, because it provides payments for a specified period of time.
- Rehabilitative alimony is a type of alimony that has the purpose of rehabilitating a spouse who needs financial support to get back into the workforce.
- Reimbursement alimony is a type of alimony intended to reimburse one spouse for financial contributions to the education or career advancement of the other party. The spouse who contributed financially to training that both spouses are expected to benefit from in the future is entitled to repayment of contributions.
- Pendente lite alimony, also referred to as temporary alimony, is implemented early in the divorce process to maintain each spouse in the same financial position that existed prior to the filing of the divorce to maintain the status quo until the divorce is finalized.
Who decides the alimony amount?
Alimony can be negotiated or determined by the court. Whenever a party requests an award of alimony in New Jersey, the alimony statute N.J.S.A. 2A: 34–23 requires courts to consider a specific list of alimony factors. The factors are:
- The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;
- The duration of the marriage or civil union;
- The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
- 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;
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties.
- The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
- The parental responsibilities for the children;
- 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 in the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital, assets, and income;
- 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;
- 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.
- The 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 payment as a non-taxable payment.
- The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid if any, and
- Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.
Retirement is a basis to determine when alimony ends in New Jersey. A party may seek to terminate or modify a spousal support obligation based upon an actual or prospective retirement. New Jersey courts have opined that making an application 12 to 18 months in advance of anticipated retirement was close enough to actual retirement to provide a court with certainty to determine the merits of the application while affording the paying spouse enough time to plan accordingly.
What if the circumstances change?
An application can be filed to address the change in circumstances and how that change impacts the alimony in place.
Does alimony end when you remarry in New Jersey? The answer is yes. Remarriage is a terminating alimony event in New Jersey.
Who pays alimony in a divorce in New Jersey? The person financially responsible for maintaining the marital standard of living.
Here at DeTorres and DeGeorge, we advocate zealously for our clients. We are skilled practitioners able to answer all of your alimony questions such as how long does alimony last and when does alimony end in New Jersey, and provide you with the information you need to make the best decisions for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We are here to help.