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In New Jersey, determining spousal alimony payments (often referred to as “spousal support” or “maintenance”) is a complex process. The court considers a variety of factors in making a determination. While there is not a fixed formula like child support, the following factors can play a role in the determination made by the court:

  • Need and Ability to Pay: This is one of the primary factors. The court will look at the financial need of the requesting spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay.
  • Duration of the Marriage: Longer marriages may generally result in longer durations of alimony.
  • Age and Physical Health: The age and health of both parties can affect the amount and duration of alimony.
  • Standard of Living During the Marriage: Courts will consider the lifestyle the couple was accustomed to during the marriage.
  • Earning Capacities: If one spouse has a much higher earning capacity than the other, it may influence the alimony amount.
  • Educational Levels: The court will look at the education and training of both parties and their ability to earn in the future.
  • Parental Responsibilities: If one spouse has taken on more responsibilities for the children, it can affect their earning capacity, resulting in the need for a greater alimony payment.
  • Duration and Cost of Training: If one spouse needs education or training to become self-sufficient, the court may factor in the cost and duration of that training.
  • Contributions to the Marriage: This can include both financial and non-financial contributions, such as homemaking and raising children.
  • Tax Treatment and Consequences: How alimony affects the taxes of both parties can be a factor.
  • Other Relevant Factors:  The court will determine if there are any other factors that would be important to consider when making the alimony determination.

Types Of Spousal Alimony Payments

There are several types of alimony recognized under New Jersey law:

  • Open Durational Alimony: This type of alimony replaces what was once called “permanent alimony.” Open durational alimony does not have a fixed end date but is typically awarded in marriages that lasted longer than 20 years. However, changes in circumstances can lead to modifications or termination of this type of alimony.
  • Limited Duration Alimony:  This type of alimony is for a specified period. It is awarded when a spouse needs financial assistance for a set time to become self-sufficient after the divorce. The duration typically correlates with the length of the marriage or civil union.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: This is short-term alimony meant to support a spouse while they obtain necessary education or training to re-enter the workforce or enhance their earning capacity.
  • Reimbursement Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded when one spouse has made financial sacrifices to support the other’s education or career development, with the expectation that both would benefit from the increased earning capacity in the future.
  • Temporary Alimony: Also known as “pendente lite” alimony, this is support provided while the divorce is still pending. It ensures that the lower-earning or non-earning spouse’s needs are met during the divorce process.
  • Conversion Alimony: In some situations, alimony initially set for a limited duration may be converted to open durational alimony, based on certain unforeseen and compelling circumstances.


It is important to note that alimony determinations are based on various factors, such as the length of the marriage, the financial situation of both parties, the needs of the spouse requesting support, and the ability of the other spouse to pay. The type of alimony awarded will also depend on a variety of considerations. Additionally, since laws can change, it is crucial to consult with an attorney skilled in family law who regularly handles alimony disputes. Contact Bozanian McGregor to help you navigate your alimony case to make sure that your financial interests are protected.

About the Author
Elton’s passion has always been family, guardianship, and estate practice, and the complexities that accompany each unique, family-oriented matter.