Practice Areas

Alimony (Spousal Support)

1. Types of Alimony

In all actions for divorce the Court may award one or more of the following types of alimony:

  1. Open-ended alimony (formerly known as Permanent alimony).
  2. Rehabilitative alimony.
  3. Reimbursement alimony.
  4. Limited duration alimony (Term alimony).

Open-ended Alimony: Open-ended alimony, formerly known as Permanent alimony, is intended to compensate a spouse for an economic dependency created by the marriage.

Rehabilitative Alimony: Rehabilitative alimony is not designed to permit the dependent spouse to share in the economic success of the marriage. It is paid for a specific purpose and, once the purpose is achieved, the right to receive alimony ceases. It is appropriate when a spouse who gave up or postponed his or her own education to support the household and requires a lump-sum or a short-term award to achieve economic self sufficiency. This is normally achieved by training or education to eliminate or reduce the economic dependency of the spouse. Rehabilitative alimony does not necessarily reflect the parties' social status or the marriage's duration, which are factors generally considered in permanent alimony awards.

Reimbursement Alimony: Reimbursement alimony is not truly support, but an equitable creation designed to eliminate injustice. It may be awarded under circumstances in which one spouse supported the other through an advanced education, anticipating participation in the fruits of the earning capacity generated by that education.

Limited Duration Alimony (Term Alimony): Term alimony is best described as an alimony award terminating upon a fixed number of years. It is significantly different from rehabilitative alimony and reimbursement alimony.

Alimony payments are Internal Revenue Code section 71 income to the recipient and Internal Revenue Code section 215 deductions for the payor.

The determination of an award of alimony is governed by statute, under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b). The Court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

  1. The actual need and ability of the parties to pay.
  2. The duration of the marriage.
  3. The parties' age and physical and emotional health.
  4. The standard of living established during the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living.
  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 alimony.
  7. The parental responsibilities for the children.
  8. The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate 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 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 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 of any alimony award including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment.

2. Termination of Alimony

Unless agreed otherwise, if a former spouse remarries, permanent and limited duration alimony terminates as of the date of the remarriage, except that any arrearages that have accrued prior to the date of the remarriage may have to be paid.

Alimony shall terminate upon the death of the paying spouse, except for any arrearages that have accrued prior to the date of the death.

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