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How much alimony will I have to pay?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2021 | Divorce

Property division is a key concern for many divorcing couples. While this includes bank and retirement accounts, real estate, and pieces of personal property, it can also include alimony. But if you’re confronting an alimony fight, then you probably have two questions on your mind: how long is alimony going to last and how much is it going to cost? These are good question, and we hope to provide some guidance here.

Factors that go into how much alimony will be paid

Although you’re certainly free to negotiate a spousal support arrangement that works for you and your former spouse, the chances are good that you’ll have to address the matter in court. When a judge is tasked with issuing an order on alimony, then he or she will consider a number of factors. Among them are the following:

  • The length of the marriage: How long your marriage lasted is going to be key to the length of your alimony obligation. The longer your marriage lasted, then the longer the alimony obligation is likely to last.
  • The marital standard of living: The ultimate goal of alimony is to position the receiving spouse in the same or similar position he or she would have been in if the marriage had continued. In other words, courts seek to maintain the marital standard of living as much as possible while the alimony order remains in effect. Therefore, a court will scrutinize every aspect of marital life from the marital residence, the cars that were driven, the vacations that were taken, and the shopping that was conduced in order to determine how much an alimony should be paid.
  • The earnings capacity of each party: If the receiving spouse lacks the skills to obtain the employment necessary to maintain the marital standard of living, then alimony will likely be ordered, but the specific amount of support that is ordered will be based in large part upon the difference between earnings capacity and need.
  • Sacrifices made during the marriage: Similar to earnings capacity are the sacrifices made during the course of the marriage, including foregoing of education, training, and work opportunities in exchange for raising a family. The more sacrifices that were made, the higher an alimony order is likely to be.
  • Parental responsibilities: The responsibilities for child-raising post-divorce are important to the alimony consideration, too. After all, the parent with more responsibilities in this regard will need more financial resources.

Keep in mind that these are just some of factors that the court will take into consideration, and it has the ability to look at any other factors that it deems relevant to issue an order for the appropriate amount of spousal support.

How long will alimony last?

Alimony will last a certain period of time as specified by law and the facts at hand. In New Jersey, each of the following options exist for alimony:

  • Open durational alimony: This type of alimony lasts as long as the recipient can demonstrate a need for the support, which can become a point of contention.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony is only meant to last for the short period of time that it takes the recipient to obtain the training and/or education necessary to become self-supporting.
  • Limited duration alimony: This type of alimony is extremely limited in scope and won’t last very long at all. This type of spousal support is intended for marriages that were very short.
  • Reimbursement alimony: An order for this type of alimony specifies an amount to be paid to a receiving spouse, usually after that spouse paid to support the other spouse’s training or education during the marriage.

We know that alimony disputes can be highly contentious, but there’s also a lot on the line. That’s why you need to know how to navigate the law if you hope to position yourself for success. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out how to navigate these challenges on your own. Instead, you can work closely with an experienced legal professional who can fight for the fair and just outcome that you deserve.