Bergen County Spousal Support Lawyer
As if the changes that come along with a divorce are not stressful enough on their own, divorcing spouses also have to deal with spousal support. Spousal support, sometimes called alimony, depends on several factors relating to the financial condition of the family and the spouses.
Every case handled by our experienced Bergan County spousal support lawyers at Arons & Solomon gets our personal attention. You will be connected directly to a lawyer when you call our offices. Our lawyers’ practices are focused on family law and our caseload is selective so that we have time to dedicate to each of our client’s cases.
When you are involved in a dispute about spousal support, it can be more than just financially stressful. It can be emotionally distressing as well. We have honed our ability to guide and support our clients through years of experience with delicate issues like spousal support.
We assist clients with initial spousal support awards. We can also help if you need a change in spousal support, would like to end your obligation to pay spousal support, or if you are owed unpaid spousal support. Contact us today for a personal discussion with one of our experienced Bergen County spousal support attorney.
What an Experienced Bergen County Spousal Support Lawyer Will Do for You
At Arons & Solomon, our job is to work for the optimal result for our client given the circumstances. Different circumstances require different skills and strategies. There are a few traditional ways that an attorney can help you resolve your child support issues: negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation.
Our attorneys have experience in the traditional methods of dispute resolution but are also capable of supporting clients through a collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce offers the potential for low-conflict and discreet cooperation. Both parties agree to maximum transparency and minimum negativity.
At Arons & Solomon, we have a team of seasoned New Jersey family law and divorce attorneys. Bergen County child custody lawyer Marion Solomon is a “Master” in New Jersey Family Law Inn of Court, a designation that she earned through a career of focus on family law practice. Arons & Solomon founding member Mitchell Arons is a certified mediator with a reputation in the legal community for his sharp skills, respectful manner, and co-founding Collaborative Divorce Association of North Jersey in 2006.
Each of our attorneys has dedicated their practice to family law. We are experienced litigators, negotiators, and we can be as assertive or amicable as the situation dictates.
Through our years of experience, we learned that it is best for our clients to have a professional divorce team. Your team includes your attorney but might also include a:
- Certified Professional Accountant (CPA),
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP),
- mental health professional, or
- child specialist.
Since each case is unique, you may only need some of these professionals. In cases involving one or both spouses with a high net worth, issues such as hiding assets may arise. In these situations, we may work with a forensic specialist to identify or locate hidden assets.
We can help you navigate issues surrounding pre-nuptial agreements or address claims for spousal support asserted by a long-term partner who is not a spouse. If you are owed spousal support under a legally-binding agreement or court order, we can help you collect your unpaid spousal support. Our New Jersey divorce lawyers are here to support you through the process.
What is Spousal Support?
Spousal support, also called alimony, describes payment made by one spouse to another during and after a divorce. While spouses are married, one spouse may be the financial breadwinner while the other spouse supports the family with unpaid labor like childcare or homemaking. Spousal support helps balance that financial dynamic when spouses divorce. It allows the receiving spouse to continue a standard of living at or close to the marital lifestyle, even after the divorce.
Spousal support can be permanent, which means that the obligation to pay is ongoing. In New Jersey, permanent alimony is called “open durational alimony.” These payments don’t have an indefinite end date, which means the obligation to pay is ongoing. Spousal support might also end after a predetermined amount of time.
In New Jersey, the receiving spouse’s remarriage can also end spousal support. You should seek the advice of an experienced spousal support lawyer if you or your former spouse plans to remarry.
How is Spousal Support Calculated in New Jersey?
Spousal support is based on the income of both parties. It includes earned income (from working) and unearned, or passive income. It is separate from child support and property division, but those may be considered in the determination of spousal support.
Some divorcing parents are familiar with the formula used to calculate child support, but there is no fixed formula for calculating spousal support in a similar manner. Instead, in New Jersey, a court determining spousal support will consider:
- How long the spouses were married
- The age and general health of both spouses
- Each spouse’s earning capacity (including education and employability)
- The receiving spouse’s need
- The paying spouse’s ability to pay
- Child support payments and custody arrangement
- Equitable distribution of marital property
- Financial and non-financial contributions of each spouse to the marriage
- Marital lifestyle
- Pendente lite support (money received before the split was finalized)
- Tax consequences of spousal support
The court is not limited to these factors but can also consider any other evidence relevant to spousal support.
The marital lifestyle can often be a contentious issue. Sometimes, a spouse will deny the level of luxury enjoyed during the marriage in an attempt to secure lower spousal support. In other situations, the family may have lived beyond its means during the marriage and prudence dictates that one or both spouses live more frugally after the divorce process.
Employability may be an issue for a spouse who formerly had a high or moderate earning capacity, but who left the workforce to support the family in other ways. Depending on the circumstances, a spouse may be expected to re-enter the workforce. We can help you navigate the uncertainty of this situation.
The court does not have to give each factor equal weight. In fact, some factors will have more impact on the court’s decision than others, depending on the circumstances of each case.
The court may determine the need of the receiving spouse by comparing their fixed monthly expenses with their fixed monthly income, if any, or their future earning capacity. Similarly, the court might determine the paying spouse’s ability to pay by considering the same factors.
What Are the Categories of Spousal Support in New Jersey?
There are several types of alimony recognized by New Jersey law. Categories of spousal support in New Jersey include:
- Open durational alimony
- Limited duration alimony
- Rehabilitative alimony
- Reimbursement alimony
Each category is treated a little bit differently as far as what the court considers in awarding it and whether it can be changed.
The length of time for which alimony is owed depends on the facts surrounding your case. Two circumstances that impact the duration of spousal support are:
- the length of the marriage and
- which category of alimony is at issue.
Rehabilitative alimony, for example, is intended to support the receiving spouse for the time they need to seek education or training so that they can prepare to re-enter the workforce. The amount of time required could differ based on the type of education or training the spouse will be seeking.
If the marriage lasted fewer than 20 years, the duration of spousal support cannot be longer than the total length of the marriage. If the spouses were married for 5 years, the spousal support duration cannot exceed 5 years.
We can help you negotiate a favorable duration for your alimony so that you will feel confident in your financial outlook. Contact our skilled spousal support lawyers to learn about your rights to alimony and how long you might receive or owe alimony.
Changing and Terminating Spousal Support in New Jersey
Depending on the category of spousal support at issue, the award may be modified or terminated. If a spouse is awarded rehabilitative or reimbursement spousal support, the award cannot be changed or terminated for any reason.
When Can Spousal Support Be Modified or Terminated in New Jersey?
If a significant change in life circumstances occurs after the spousal support agreement or award, a court might modify or terminate the spousal support. Examples of significant changes include, but are not limited to:
- Health problems
- Unemployment for over 90 days
Remarriage of the receiving spouse is grounds for termination of spousal support in New Jersey.
If you think that the circumstances have changed in a serious enough way that a change or termination in spousal support is warranted, contact our office today. We will discuss with you whether your situation meets the legal requirements for a change or termination of spousal support.
Handling Alimony and Spousal Support Disputes Across Bergen County, New Jersey
Arons & Solomon is well known for providing high-quality legal services to clients across Bergen County. Our alimony lawyers regularly handle cases in:
- Franklin Lakes
- Upper Saddle River
- Old Tappan
- Saddle River
Whether you’re in the process of getting a divorce or need to modify the terms of an existing spousal support order, our family law attorneys are here to help. Give our law office in northern New Jersey a call to discuss your alimony case today.
Contact Our Bergen County Spousal Support Lawyers for Help
At Arons & Solomon, we set expectations for our clients so you will have structure and know what to expect from the process. We will provide you with personal one-on-one guidance throughout your divorce.
Contact us to learn more about how we can ensure you have a fair spousal support award. Our experienced child support lawyers are ready to get started working for you.