When a married household becomes two – what happens to the income?


When there is a financial imbalance between two spouses in a divorce, spousal support, or alimony, is usually paid. Alimony can be one of the most emotional components of any divorce and is a complex and fact-sensitive issue. Although popular entertainment has promoted the idea that alimony is paid by a husband to a wife, the reality is that alimony is gender-neutral and is based on the relative incomes of the individuals.

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Is there a set amount for alimony?

There is no set formula for alimony in New Jersey, for an amount or duration. Calculating alimony is based on a number of complex factors, including the duration of the marriage, the age of the spouses, the earning ability and income history of the supported spouse, child support, and child custody, just to name a few. At Keith Family Law, we can help walk you through all of the factors considered when determining alimony and assist in negotiating an acceptable outcome for everyone involved.

How long is alimony paid?

This depends on the type of alimony determined through negotiation or ordered by the court. Alimony can be temporary, to help one of the spouses during the divorce negotiations and proceedings; limited duration, usually for shorter term marriages; or it could even be an open duration alimony that may be paid indefinitely, usually for long-term marriages.

The amount of alimony can change, depending on the financial circumstances of the person paying and the person being paid. If you lose your job, for example, we can help you petition the court for a modification of the original spousal support order, although success is not guaranteed. If the spouse being paid alimony cohabits with someone else, this does not necessarily mean that alimony payments stop, as it depends on the terms of the original alimony agreement. When you reach the age of retirement, the amount of alimony can be reduced or even ended, depending on the circumstances and finances of the spouses involved.

What if my spouse refuses to pay the alimony agreed upon?

Alimony is governed by state law and is a legal order by the court. If your spouse is not paying, we can help you file a motion to the court to enforce the order. This could include anything from an order to pay all outstanding payments immediately, the sale of property to satisfy the outstanding amounts, or even an arrest of the spouse.

Negotiating alimony payments is often extremely complex, and determining a fair and reasonable amount can often be a major sticking point between legally separating spouses. If you have any questions about alimony, or any other areas of divorce and family law, please feel free to call us for a legal consult. We will provide you with individualized legal counsel with one of our family lawyers. Ideally, you may find a reasonable way to resolve your alimony issues privately through negotiation, mediation, or the Collaborative Law process. A collaboratively trained attorney can help you work together through collaborative practice to find a level of alimony that both spouses can agree to.

Keith Family Law is a full service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

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Alimony can be an emotional and complex component of divorce. We can help negotiate an acceptable outcome for everyone involved.
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