In certain divorce cases in New Jersey, the payment of and receipt of alimony may be an issue. Alimony or spousal support is basically support that is paid from one spouse to the other. The entitlement to support from your spouse is “ gender neutral”, that is, either party, husband or wife may be faced with an alimony obligation to the other depending upon the circumstances.
NJSA 2A:34-23(b) provides for 4 specific types of alimony:
- Open Durational
- Limited Duration
There are 14 specific factors a Court must consider in determining if alimony is appropriately an issue in your case as well as the nature and extent of the same. For a marriage of less than 20 years in duration, the term of the alimony shall not exceed the length of the marriage, except in exceptional circumstances.
There are 8 specific factors that the Court may consider when determining if exceptional circumstances exist that may adjust an alimony duration:
- The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the award;
- The degree and duration of the dependency of one party on the other during the marriage;
- Whether a spouse has a chronic illness r unusual health condition;
- Whether a spouse has given up a career or opportunity or supported the career of the other;
- Whether a spouse received a disproportionate share of equitable distribution;
- The impact of the marriage on either party’s ability to become self-supporting, including the party’s responsibility to primarily care for a child;
- Tax considerations;
- Any other factors the Court deems equitable, relevant and material.
As you can see, each case is very fact sensitive. It is critical that you discuss the facts and circumstances of your case in detail with your attorney. Many litigants and attorneys simply presume that if you are married less than 20 years, then your alimony term may not exceed the same. As you can see, that may or may not be true depending upon the circumstances.
Finally, alimony payments may be deductible by the Party making the payments and taxable to the Party receiving the payments, assuming certain requirements are satisfied:
1.The payment must be pursuant to a written divorce or separation agreement;
- The payment must be made to or on behalf of your spouse;
- The obligation to make the payment must cease if the Payor dies.
- The payment must be in cash;
- The payment cannot be considered child support;
- The divorce or separation agreement cannot explicitly say the payment is not alimony.
- After the divorce, you and your ex can not live in the same household or file a joint tax return.
Robert Adinolfi, Esq. is the founding shareholder and partner of Adinolfi &Packman, PA and has been practicing family law for 40 years and is a Certified Matrimonial Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as well as the former President of the NJ Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.