New Jersey Alimony Lawyers
Our Hackensack Alimony Lawyers Help Seek the Spousal Support You Deserve
Divorce is a difficult and often emotionally charged process, and the financial issues involved are complex. They can affect you for years to come. Many divorces involve a monetary award known as “alimony” or “spousal support,” which is designed to assist the economically weaker spouse for a period of time. It can also correct uneven economic circumstances that may result due to a divorce.
At Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, our New Jersey alimony lawyers know that the issue of alimony is often contested, regardless of whether you are the intended recipient or whether you may have to pay. We will work closely with you and help you make the best decisions possible. When you work with our attorneys, we can prevent you from making costly mistakes.
How our Bergen County Alimony Lawyers Can Help
Even if you are just thinking about getting divorced, our attorneys can help you deal with the issues that you will be facing. In addition to alimony, these may include division of assets and debts, child custody and support, and the emotional, social, and tax consequences of the divorce.
The trends in alimony or spousal support in New Jersey are changing constantly, and the interpretation of the law are forever evolving. Determining or resolving the issue of alimony is not a straightforward analysis and is very fact-specific to your situation. In marriages where one spouse requires vocational training or education to become self-supporting, or if one spouse earns significantly less than the other, or one spouse never worked during the marriage, but took care of the children, alimony will most likely be a factor in the divorce.
Our New Jersey alimony lawyers will discuss with you the alimony factors that impact you, as well as the interplay among them. If you will be the recipient of alimony, we can address the amount that you would need and devise a method of payment that works for everyone so that the paying spouse will comply with the court order to pay. We will explain what steps you can take to ensure you get the alimony you negotiated and, if necessary, ways to enforce the alimony payment should your spouse stop paying for some reason.
If you are the spouse paying alimony, our New Jersey alimony lawyers can assist you in limiting your exposure to pay too much and figure out a number that is fair, as well as devising a beneficial installment plan that suits your financial needs.
Call our experienced Hackensack alimony lawyers representing clients in Bergen County and surrounding areas at Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC at (201) 880-9770 so we can examine your individual divorce and spousal support situation, answer your questions, and determine the best way to move forward and obtain the most advantageous solutions for you and your family.
Our Spousal Support Lawyers Explain New Jersey Laws
Our New Jersey alimony lawyers understand the intricacies and complexities that have a bearing on the type and the amount of alimony or spousal support and will examine how they affect your individual situation. New Jersey law does not favor one spouse or sex over the other. The law attempts to ensure that both divorcing parties can function financially after the divorce. Therefore, according to New Jersey statute § 2A:34-23, determination of alimony or spousal support is based upon, but not limited to, the following factors:
“(1) The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;
(2) The duration of the marriage or civil union;
(3) The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
(4) 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;
(5) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;
(6) The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
(7) The parental responsibilities for the children;
(8) 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;
(9) 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;
(10) 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;
(11) The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;
(12) 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;
(13) The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any; and
(14) Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.”
In making an alimony award, the court considers all relevant factors and, it will state its findings and reasons in writing. Talk to our spousal support attorneys to learn how the intricacies of the New Jersey laws will impact your financial obligations or the amount of support you might receive.
Our Alimony Lawyers in Hackensack Explain Types of Alimony and Spousal Maintenance
After considering many factors, you may be entitled to receive, or, you may have to pay one or more of the following types of alimony: limited duration alimony; open durational alimony; rehabilitative alimony; or reimbursement alimony.
Limited Duration Alimony
This type of alimony is awarded for a specific time related to the length of the marriage. Under New Jersey alimony reform law, in marriages lasting less than 20 years, alimony can only be ordered for up to the duration in years of the marriage as a ceiling. In marriages that lasted for over 20 years, alimony may be open-durational, without a fixed end point. More about this in the section below.
In addition to the factors listed in the previous section, the court also considers the practical impact of separate residences. Because maintaining two residences is generally more expensive than one but with the parties still only having the same income level, consideration is made for the ability of both parties to maintain a standard of living reasonably comparable to the standard they had while married, with neither party having a greater entitlement over the other.
The courts may adjust the duration of alimony according to certain circumstances, which include:
“(1) The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage or civil union and at the time of the alimony award;
(2) The degree and duration of the dependency of one party on the other party during the marriage or civil union;
(3) Whether a spouse or partner has a chronic illness or unusual health circumstance;
(4) Whether a spouse or partner has given up a career or a career opportunity or otherwise supported the career of the other spouse or partner;
(5) Whether a spouse or partner has received a disproportionate share of equitable distribution;
(6) The impact of the marriage or civil union on either party’s ability to become self-supporting, including but not limited to either party’s responsibility as primary caretaker of a child;
(7) Tax considerations of either party;
(8) Any other factors or circumstances that the court deems equitable, relevant and material.”
Should circumstances change, the amount of alimony for a limited duration may be modified, but not the length of the term except in unusual circumstances. The length of the term is based on the time it would reasonably take for the recipient to improve their earning capacity to where the alimony is no longer appropriate.
This form of alimony is generally awarded so that the recipient can pay for training and associated living costs for entry or re-entry into the job market or to advance to a higher-paying position within a certain amount of time. The spouse receiving alimony must show the scope of rehabilitation, the steps to be taken toward rehabilitation, and the time frame, including a period of employment during which rehabilitation will occur.
This type of alimony may be awarded when one party supported the other through an advanced education, in anticipation of increased earning capacity. This award cannot be modified.
Be aware that remarriage and civil unions do not end rehabilitative or reimbursement alimony unless the couple agrees, or the court finds there is good cause to terminate the order.
All forms of alimony do end if either spouse dies.
The divorce attorneys at Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC will discuss all these variable situations with you and address your questions and concerns. Call us today at (201) 880-9770.
Additional Alimony Situations Our Bergen County Spousal Support Attorneys Handle
In addition, the courts may award pendente lite alimony for the period while the divorce is pending. This is temporary support for situations where one spouse is financially dependent on the other and needs help to cover living expenses during the divorce period.
Types of Alimony Payments
Once you have an understanding of the factors that affect the amount of alimony you could pay, or receive, you’ll want to know when these payments will happen. Our spousal support attorney will explain how the payment process can work for you. In New Jersey, courts may order a lump-sum or periodic (installment) payments.
Periodic — Most payments are periodic, usually paid monthly. If couples cannot agree on how payment will be made, the court may issue an income-withholding order, which is otherwise known as an automatic wage execution from the payors employer.
Lump-sum – Lump-sum payments may be made in cases where the paying spouse is self-employed or doesn’t receive a regular paycheck. If you are considering this option, speak with an attorney because the amount you would otherwise have to pay in installments would be significantly discounted if you were going to make a lump sum payment. The theory being that a bird in the hand is more valuable than waiting over time for the funds.
Modifying Alimony Orders
Modifications can be requested by either spouse if there is a significant change in circumstances, so long as there is no written agreement or Court Order that the alimony cannot be changed. To modify an order, the requesting spouse must prove that there has been a change in circumstances, such as, the retirement of the payor spouse, significant decrease or increase of income of either spouse for a long period of time.
If you have received a request to increase or decrease the alimony, or want to make a request for modification, talk to our attorney to ensure all factors will be considered to protect your interests.
Spousal support laws in New Jersey are complex, and our team will ensure you take full advantage of those laws.
Alimony and Taxes
For divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats the alimony payments like child support. This means that alimony payments are no longer tax-deductible to the paying spouse, nor are they reportable income for the recipient.
If you finalized your spousal support agreement and/or received your support order before January 1, 2019, the paying spouse can deduct alimony payments, and the supported spouse must report and pay taxes on the support. However, New Jersey allows for the deduction of alimony payments for payors and requires recipients to report payments as taxable income on their state tax returns.
How Child Custody and Support Agreements Impact Alimony
Child custody and support situations may also affect spousal support. Our divorce lawyer will help you with all elements of your divorce because there can be several factors impacting your alimony agreement, particularly if you have children.
New Jersey law promotes the concept that it’s in the best interests of the child to have strong, functional relationships with both parents. Parents are encouraged to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing and to protect the best interests of the child. The law views the custody rights of both parents as equal, regardless of gender.
When you are calculating child support, you need to consider the amount being paid or received in alimony. This is a critical component that if you do not factor that in, the overall child support and/or alimony figure could be dramatically skewed in either direction.
There are two main aspects of custody:
- Physical or Residential Custody: the parent with whom the child will spend a majority of their time; and
- Legal Custody: the parent responsible for major decision-making on behalf of the children. A major decision includes the health, education, and general welfare of the children.
At the law offices of Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, our New Jersey child custody attorneys will be able to easily distinguish and explain the complex differences between the following:
- Sole legal custody
- Shared or joint legal custody
- Sole residential child custody
- Shared residential child custody
- Parent of primary residence
- Parent of alternate residence.
We understand that divorce can be stressful and that financial worries can weigh heavily on you during this difficult time. You want to be sure your children are well taken care of, but you may also worry about your own financial situation.
Count on our knowledge, our experience and our expertise to help you navigate every aspect of your divorce, as well as your child custody, child support and alimony agreements. We will ensure that your and your children’s interests are well protected.
Call Our Spousal Support Attorney in Bergen County for Help
The issues surrounding spousal maintenance and child custody are too important to try to manage them on your own. Whatever your divorce situation, our attorneys can help.
Call Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC today at (201) 880-9770. We represent individuals filing for divorce in Bergen County, as well as in many of the surrounding counties.