When it comes to divorce cases, even those resolved through divorce mediation, one of the most hotly contested issues is whether or not alimony is applicable and how much support is correct. Alimony, or spousal support, is when one spouse must monetarily support the other spouse after the divorce. It should be noted that child support and alimony are two separate issues, therefore you can end paying both, though alimony must be calculated before child support. In general, the reasons for alimony are twofold:
- To ensure both parties can maintain a lifestyle that is as similar as possible to the lifestyle they had while married.
- To balance the economical consequences of the marriage dissolving and avoid one spouse being overburdened with these consequences compared to the other.
As you can imagine, alimony is a heavily charged issue, especially given that both parties have to agree that alimony is even necessary in the first place. If there is little difference in the economic situations of both parties, alimony may not come into play. On the other hand, in many cases where one spouse gave up their career in order to raise children and take care of the home, alimony will likely be necessary. You can receive alimony regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. Alimony can be a confusing and complicated topic to resolve without assistance. This is where divorce mediation can be a huge help.
How Is Alimony Determined in NJ?
In New Jersey, there are no specific calculations to help quantify whether alimony is necessary, and if it is, how much should be paid. Instead there are guidelines that can point the decision in a certain direction based on a number of factors, including:
- The length of the marriage.
- The standard of living experience while in the marriage.
- The age and relative health of each spouse.
- The income of each spouse, including income from marital property distribution.
- The tax implications of any alimony payments.
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including any contributions relating to homemaking or parenting.
- The income earning capability of each spouse.
- The necessity of one spouse (the recipient) needing financial support to maintain a reasonable standard of living.
- The ability of the other spouse (the payer) to pay alimony while still maintaining a comparable standard of living.
This is a lot of information to consider. Therefore, if you plan to go through with mediation, it helps to have a mediator, like Steve B. Menack, that understands all the nuances of determining alimony and can put together an agreement that is fair to both parties.
Alimony, Changing Needs and Bill A845
Alimony can be modified if important aspects of the circumstances of either the payer or recipient change. This can include situations where the recipient spouse remarries, cohabitates or no longer needs the support. Another common reason for modifying alimony is if the payer spouse has had their income decreased. Many of these changes were brought about in 2014 as part of the A845 Bill. This bill also ended the concept of “lifetime” or “permanent alimony.” Alimony can be ended in most cases when the payer retires. Also, for marriages that lasted less than 20 years, the timeframe of alimony payments cannot exceed the length of the marriage. These are aspects of alimony that are worth discussing during divorce mediation.
Need Assistance With Divorce Issues Like Alimony?
Although divorce mediation is generally less stressful and time consuming than going through the courts, the important decisions are in your hands and no one else’s. Getting a well trained divorce mediator to oversee your case can be the difference between ending up in court anyways and walking away with an amicable agreement. Issues like alimony are complex, so you’ll want to make sure to have legal advice from someone with knowledge and experience. Contact Steve B. Menack today to guide you through the divorce mediation process.