Alimony in Divorce Cases

Alimony is court-ordered financial support that one spouse pays to the other spouse after the divorce is final. The purpose of alimony is to ensure that both spouses maintain the same standard of living following a divorce as they did during their marriage. A spouse who receives alimony would be the spouse who did not work or further his or her education during the marriage, or was the lesser wage earner as between the two parties.  As a result, that spouse was financially dependent on the higher earning spouse. A spouse who pays alimony typically was the higher wage earner during the parties’ marriage.

N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b) sets forth 14 different factors that a court must consider when issuing an alimony award. These factors include the following:

  • The needs of the spouse receiving the alimony and the ability of the other spouse to pay it
  • The duration of the marriage or civil union, as the duration of the alimony payments cannot exceed the duration of the marriage or civil union
  • The age, physical health, and emotional health of the parties
  • The parties’ standard of living during their marriage
  • The earning capacities and educational levels of each party
  • The length of time that either spouse has been absent from the job market
  • The parental responsibilities of each spouse
  • The time and expense necessary for a spouse to receive adequate education and training
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, whether financial or non-financial
  • Equitable property distribution
  • Income available to either party through the investment of assets
  • The tax consequences for an alimony award on each party, as alimony is taxable income for the party receiving it and tax-deductible for the party paying it
  • The nature and duration of any pendent lite support paid, which are interim alimony payments made while the divorce proceedings are pending
  • Any other factor that the court considers to be relevant

There are four different types of alimony awards available in the state of New Jersey. Limited duration alimony provides for alimony payments for a certain period of time that does not exceed the length of the marriage. This type of alimony is generally for marriages that lasted for less than 20 years. Reimbursement alimony is ordered when one spouse supported the household financially while the other spouse furthered his or her education. Rehabilitative alimony allows a spouse to receive alimony payments while he or she is going through the training or education needed to improve his or her job prospects. Rehabilitative alimony can include the payment of the costs of the education or training, as well. Finally, open durational alimony is generally reserved for cases involving marriages that lasted 20 years or more when one spouse has unequal or present future earnings capacity in comparison to the other spouse or when there is some other special circumstance that would warrant such relief.

Divorce cases are never easy, and the financial uncertainty that divorce often causes can quickly make you feel overwhelmed. During times like these, it is hard to make the decisions that are truly best for you and your family, particularly when it comes to emotionally-charged issues like alimony. It is in these kinds of cases that a New Jersey family lawyer can be most useful to you and truly make a difference in the outcome of your case. Visit our website at You also can email us at, and one of our staff members will get back to you right away.