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Getting divorced? Here's what you should know about alimony

When you go through a divorce, you know that your financial interests are on the line. It's important to secure a final order that provides you with stability and security well into the future, and for you, this may include getting alimony. Alimony, also called spousal support, are payments made from the higher-earning spouse to the other spouse after divorce.

The intent of these payments is to offset any financial inequity brought on by a divorce. When there is significant inequity between the earning capacities of the two spouses, divorce can be financially devastating for the one who earns less. If you believe you have a rightful claim to this type of support, it may be helpful to learn more about these payments and what you can do to get the full amount you need. 

How much can you get?

The first question is whether alimony is merited. The court will consider statutory factors when determining if a spouse is eligible. These factors include the length of the marriage, how much each party earns, the long-term earning capacity of each spouse, and barriers to earning such as age, health or work history.

The statutes will also guide the court in determining how much spousal support a person can get. However, it is possible to negotiate with the other spouse and come to a reasonable conclusion out of court. You have the right to pursue a specific amount or challenge your spouse's attempt to minimize his or her financial obligation to you. 

How long will these payments last?

The length of time a spouse will receive these benefits depends on factors unique to the individual situation. For example, a court may give you these benefits for what it determines is long enough to find new employment, secure a higher-paying job or get back on your feet after your divorce is final. There are also specific factors, such as a disability you may have, that could lead the court to grant permanent alimony.

New Jersey statute provides for rehabilitative alimony to allow the lesser-earning spouse to get financially established; reimbursement alimony to compensate a spouse who sacrificed their own career or financially subsidized their partner's career; and alimony of open-ended duration, sometimes referred to as "permanent" alimony. Open duration alimony is typically granted only in long-term marriages.

How can you fight for what you need?

There is a lot on the line during your divorce. The terms of your final order will impact your future for years to come, which is why it is important to fight for what you need for stability long term. You may find it beneficial to seek the guidance of an experienced New Jersey attorney who can help you understand whether you are eligible for alimony and how you can fight for what you need and deserve.

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