Is there alimony in New Jersey?

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By John Jones, Esq.

In a word “yes” there is alimony in New Jersey. In fact, there are four different kinds of alimony:

A. “Permanent” alimony – This is really a misnomer, as this type of alimony ends when either party dies or the recipient remarries. It should be more properly referred to as “indefinite” alimony.

B. “Rehabilitative” alimony – This support lasts for a certain period, during which the recipient is to put him/herself in a position to be more economically self-sufficient. Typically, this would entail more education or training.

C. “Reimbursement” alimony – This support last for a period of time, during which one party repays the other for expenditures made by the other party for the payor’s benefit. Typically, this is reimbursement for educational costs paid by one spouse for the other.

D. “Limited duration” alimony – This type of support is exactly what its name implies; support for a specific period.

The court can award all or any of these, as the court deems appropriate, given the facts of any given marriage. However, the court must first consider whether it should award indefinite alimony before it can consider the other types.

All of these can be modified by the court in subsequent applications. For instance, reimbursement alimony can be modified if there is a material change of circumstance or the planned rehabilitation does not take place or takes more or less time than anticipated.

During the pendency of an action the court can order temporary support be paid by one party to the other until the matter can be concluded. This is called “pendente lite” (Latin for pending the suit or during litigation) support. After the parties have had a full and complete opportunity to discover all relevant financial information, such an award can be retroactively modified, if appropriate.

Alimony is taxable to the recipient and deductible from the gross income of the payor. Thus, it is very important for the recipient to keep in mind that, come April, he/she will have to pay income tax on the alimony received during the prior year. It is also important to the payor because it may lower the payor’s tax bracket. Needless to say, there are many contingencies attached to this concept and each party must make sure they comply with the strict requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and the Regulations.

As with any other issue in divorce, the details of the several types of alimony, the requirements and their affect should be explored with your attorney before you proceed.