Alimony Lawyer Serving Bergen County and Northern New Jersey
The Bergen County, Edgewater family law attorneys at Herbert & Weiss are experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive alimony lawyers who fight for their client’s rights and interests in every aspect of a New Jersey divorce, including terms of any alimony payment which may be negotiated or litigated.
What is Alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a court-ordered payment from one ex-spouse to the other following a divorce. The idea behind alimony in New Jersey is that the spouses as a couple had achieved a certain standard of living, and alimony can be used to balance the parties’ earning capacity and allow each spouse to continue that standard of living separately.
In any divorce or dissolution, the judge has the authority to order one spouse to pay an amount of financial support to the other spouse. The judge can order whatever amount seems reasonable and just. While there is no formula or statutory guideline to follow in determining the amount like there is with child support, there are several factors which must be considered by the court, such as:
- Need of the receiving spouse for support
- Ability of paying spouse to pay
- Length of the marriage
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Both parties’ earning capacity
- Parental responsibilities for the children
- Time and expense needed for receiving spouse to obtain education or job training
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
- The distribution of marital property
The court can consider a variety of income sources, including pension benefits, although if a pension plan or other retirement benefit was divided in the property settlement, it shouldn’t also be considered as income for the paying spouse in determining alimony payments. With the use of forensic experts where necessary, investigators and other tools, we can help make sure that spousal income is fairly and accurately determined.
What types of Alimony are there?
The first decision for the court is whether to make a permanent alimony award. If the judge doesn’t think permanent alimony is appropriate, there are still several other types of alimony which can be awarded:
- Limited duration – The court can award alimony for the length of time it would reasonably take the recipient to improve his or her earning capacity to a level where alimony is no longer appropriate.
- Rehabilitative – Rehabilitative alimony is based on a plan where the recipient shows what steps will be taken and the time frame that will be needed to adjust to a new situation and get established financially.
- Reimbursement – This type of alimony is appropriate where one of the spouses supported the other to get an advanced education or specialized job training, with the anticipation that it would lead to an enhanced earning capacity for the benefit of the family.
The court also has authority to award pendente lite alimony, which is temporary support during the divorce proceedings. This alimony can include requiring one spouse to pay a retainer for expert and legal services for the other spouse. The court can make one spouse pay for the legal fees of the other based on financial circumstances and good or bad faith of the part of either spouse.
Seek Experienced Legal Representation for Alimony in Your New Jersey Divorce
Given the wide discretion the judge has in awarding alimony, it is very important to be well-represented in the divorce process, whether you are seeking to receive alimony or being asked to pay. You will want to make sure the judge has an accurate picture of the factors to be considered, and that your rights and interests are being properly considered in the final decision. Herbert & Weiss have a representation both as aggressive litigators and persuasive negotiators. We know which factors are most important to influence an alimony award, and we know how to prepare and present an effective case. In Bergen County and northern New Jersey, contact an alimony lawyer at Herbert & Weiss to discuss how the issue of alimony may be resolved in your divorce.