If you are going through a separation or divorce, the issue of alimony, also know as spousal support, will most likely be play a role since one spouse usually earns a lower income than the other. In such cases, the lower-income spouse will need a way to support themselves after the divorce. Alimony is focused on enabling both spouses to live as close to the same standard of living as prior to the divorce. The spouse receiving alimony can use the money to maintain a standard of living which is ideally the same as they had prior to the divorce, while the paying spouse is able to claim a tax-deduction on the expense.
Alimony is not an automatic part of every divorce case in New Jersey and is not the same as equitable distribution. While equitable distribution is a look at what assets the parties acquired during the marriage and the division of these assets, alimony takes a forward look and is used in an attempt to balance out financial disparities in the parties’ economic circumstances. Where equitable distribution comes into play is that the Court’s work to avoid what is commonly known as “double dipping”. For instance, one of the martial assets subject to distribution as part of a divorce may be retirement accounts. If a pension or 401-k is divided as part of equitable distribution, then these benefits cannot be used to calculate alimony.