Typical issues that must be resolved during a divorce include child custody, child support, the division of property and alimony. The purpose of alimony, also known as spousal support, is to limit the economic impact on a spouse who is a non-wage earner or a lower-wage earner by providing financial support to that spouse.
The amount of alimony a spouse is entitled to receive varies from state to state. Typical factors used to determine the amount include the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, the payor's ability to pay, the recipient's need and the recipient's previous lifestyle. Other factors sometimes considered by a court include non-marital assets and the amount of time required for the recipient spouse to become financially independent.
Although alimony is a major factor in many divorces, it is usually one of the last issues to be resolved. This is because the correct amount of alimony cannot be determined until the division of property has been settled. Additionally, the amount of spousal support might be modified by a court when financial circumstances change.
Just because a court awards alimony, there is no guarantee that the payor will be able to meet the obligations contained in the divorce settlement. However, other financial instruments are sometimes used to ensure that the recipient spouse receives adequate financial support. These include life insurance, disability insurance and annuities.
Going through a divorce can be a very difficult time in a person's life, and having to make decisions that will affect a spouse's financial future, such as alimony, can be very stressful. For that reason, many individuals find it beneficial to engage the services of a lawyer who is familiar with New Jersey law and has experience dealing with alimony.