“The Court will award alimony based on a formula”
We have previously blogged about some of the common misconceptions about the divorce process in New Jersey. This blog will look to dispel another common NJ divorce myth: Alimony is determined pursuant to a formula or guidelines.
While child support in New Jersey is in many cases determined pursuant to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, there is no “formula” or calculation for determining alimony. Although divorcing parties can agree to calculate alimony in any manner they deem appropriate, there is no calculation or formula that can be applied by a New Jersey Court. The New Jersey Appellate Division has in fact rejected application of a mathematical formula by the court for purposes of determining an alimony award. An alimony determination is fact-specific, although the 2014 amendments to the New Jersey alimony statute do incorporate some durational limits and parameters; for example, alimony generally cannot be granted for longer than the term of the marriage for marriages lasting less than 20 years. Outside of these statutory limitations, however, alimony is a strictly fact-based analysis.
A court will determine alimony in a NJ divorce by reviewing the facts of a given case in conjunction with an analysis of the 14 factors identified in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b):
(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.
Although all of the statutory factors are to be considered in determining alimony in a NJ divorce, some of the most frequently cited factors include the length of the marriage, need of the dependent spouse for alimony and the ability of the supporting spouse to pay it.
Thomas Roberto, Esq. is a shareholder and partner at Adinolfi, Lieberman, Burick, Roberto & Molotsky representing clients throughout New Jersey facing divorce. Tom has significant experience in all aspects of divorce and family law helping clients navigate this often complex and emotional process. Whether you are seeking alimony or the one paying alimony, being represented by an attorney that understands the law is critical.