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What do courts consider when making an alimony decision?

The state of New Jersey offers certain ex-spouses the right to right to receive alimony payments from the other spouse to help make financial ends meet after a marriage comes to an end. The purpose of these alimony payments is usually a temporary means of financial support to pay for living costs and education costs. In most cases, alimony serves as a financial bridge so that the less-moneyed spouse can become economically independent.

When making a decision on alimony, New Jersey family law courts will look at a variety of factors to determine whether a spouse should receive alimony, how much those alimony payments will be and how long they will last. Here are the most important factors courts consider when making an alimony determination:

The individual characteristics of both spouses

Courts will zero in on the individual characteristics of both spouses. These characteristics include their the ages, health conditions, emotional states and financial conditions. These factors help courts determine how much money the spouses require for life and how much they're capable of independently earning -- and/or their independent capacities to support themselves financially.

Does the alimony recipient require education or job training?

If the alimony recipient needs job training or education to become financially independent, how much does he or she require? Also, how much time will it take for him or her to complete the kind of education required to become financially independent?

How long was the couple married and what was their standard of living?

Another important question centers around how long the couple was married. When the couple was married for a long time, the moneyed spouse will have a higher degree of responsibility to the less-moneyed spouse for a longer period of time. In determining the amount of alimony to pay, courts will review the standard of living the spouses enjoyed while married.

What can the paying spouse afford?

Courts will also be realistic about what the paying spouse can afford. For example, if the higher standard of living was enjoyed on credit, courts will be realistic with regard to whether the paying spouse can afford to continue supporting the ex-spouse at the previous standard of living they enjoyed.

Do you have questions about alimony in New Jersey?

Whether you have the potential of being the paying spouse or the recipient spouse in a New Jersey alimony case, you can benefit from a detailed review of our state's alimony laws and other family laws. By understanding how courts tend to decide these matters, you can better protect your legal rights through your divorce proceedings.

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