Simply put, alimony is the legal obligation of one spouse to provide financial support to the other. Alimony, or spousal support, can be one of the most contentious divorce matters. If you’re headed for divorce, it’s essential to understand how New Jersey courts calculate alimony to anticipate the amount you may be ordered to pay or entitled to receive. Please continue reading to learn what factors may impact a judge’s alimony determination and how our seasoned Monmouth County Spousal Support Attorneys can help you fight for a just support agreement.
How Do New Jersey Courts Determine Alimony?
Generally speaking, the highest-earning spouse is the party required to pay alimony. It’s imperative to note that alimony is not atomically granted. The dependent spouse who requires this type of financial support must file a request with the court.
New Jersey law doesn’t rely on a set formula for calculating alimony like other states. However, they often use a standard method of 20-25% of the net difference between your annual income and your former spouse to calculate an appropriate alimony order. These percentages will range depending on your specific circumstances. Nevertheless, the court will not base its decision solely on this calculation. The court must weigh a variety of factors before landing on an alimony award, including:
- The age and health of each party
- The duration of the marriage
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Each party’s earning capacities
- Each party’s contributions to the marriage
- Each party’s parental responsibilities
- The equitable distribution of property
- The tax implications
- The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance
- the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training for the party seeking maintenance to become self-sufficient.
- Any history of domestic violence
- Any other factors or circumstances that the court deems relevant
While the judge will consider the above factors, their primary concern is determining the actual need for this type of financial support and the ability to afford this maintenance.
Will fault grounds affect my award?
Contrary to popular belief, fault grounds will not affect an alimony award. New Jersey courts do not consider fault when awarding alimony. However, when a spouse acts in bad faith, such as intentionally using marital funds to drain joint accounts, the court will consider these actions when making an alimony decision.
With hard-earned assets and your future financial security at stake, it’s crucial to enlist the help of a dedicated attorney from the legal team at Paone Zaleski & Murphy, who can help protect your interests. We are prepared to represent your interests today.