Are you getting a divorce in New Jersey? Depending on the circumstances, the court may order you to make regular alimony payments to your ex. Often, courts will order a spouse to pay spousal support if their partner will be unable to support themselves after a divorce or separation..

Many factors influence whether you might be required to pay alimony. Additionally, a wide range of factors can determine the length of time for your alimony payments. Whether you’re making alimony payments or receiving them, it’s important to make sound financial plans based on the length of your arrangement.

Factors Affecting Whether You’ll Pay Alimony in New Jersey

Family courts evaluate the unique circumstances of each case when deciding whether one spouse should pay alimony to another. 

The courts will use the following factors as a guide:

  • Current income of each spouse
  • Assets
  • Debts
  • Earning capacity
  • Education level
  • General financial wellness

Ideally, courts won’t make mistakes. They’ll only institute alimony payments when there’s good reason to do so. But sometimes, they get it wrong. A qualified Bergen County divorce attorney can protect you from unfair alimony payments. Alternatively, if you need spousal support, an attorney can maximize your chances of receiving alimony for a fair length of time.

Alimony in New Jersey: When Can I Stop Making Payments?

Because each case is unique, there’s no universal answer to this question. However, there are certain general rules that influence how long alimony payments should last.

For instance, New Jersey law forbids courts from ordering spouses to make alimony payments for longer than the length of their marriage if their marriage lasted less than 20 years. Alimony payments will extend longer than the duration of the marriage only in exceptional circumstances. An example would be if one spouse has a chronic illness that requires expensive treatment and limits their ability to earn an income on their own. Spouses can also agree to an alimony arrangement that lasts longer than their marriage.

Generally, alimony payments for marriages of 10 years or longer usually last for half the length of the marriage. For example, if you were married for 14 years, alimony payments may last seven years.

Contact a Bergen County Divorce Lawyer For Help

Remember, you don’t have to leave it to a court to make an alimony decision for you. You and your spouse can agree to an alimony arrangement that meets both of your expectations, including the amount of payments and the length of time they will continue.
A divorce lawyer can serve as an advocate and mediator to help couples agree to alimony terms that work for all. Don’t leave your spousal support matters up to a court. Consider contacting a divorce attorney for help negotiating terms that are beneficial to you and your spouse.