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What exceptional factors might alter the duration of alimony?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2022 | Family Law

One of the most common issues for dispute in a New Jersey divorce is alimony. People who are asked to pay to support a former spouse might question the amount and the duration. The person who is receiving this support might not believe the order is sufficient to cover all of their needs and maintain the lifestyle they had during the marriage.

In these cases, it is important to understand the law. The court will follow a baseline for the order. Regarding duration, it will hinge on various factors. One aspect that could be challenging is if there is a claim of exceptional circumstances that warrants the duration to be adjusted.

What factors are considered “exceptional” circumstances?

In general, if a marriage was shorter than 20 years, the alimony will not go beyond the same number of years that the marriage lasted. Still, not every case is the same and there are some instances where the court will deviate from the basic rule.

The ages of the parties when they married and when the award is made will be considered. For example, if the receiving party is older and would have trouble making ends meet without extended alimony, this could mean that it will last longer than it normally would.

Some marriages have one person who is the primary breadwinner while the other is a homemaker and stay-at-home parent. This will hinder that person’s ability to support themselves as they are dependent on the earning spouse. This too could be considered exceptional.

Other factors would be the health of the receiving spouse; if they had a career they surrendered for the good of the other person; how the property is divided based on equitable distribution; the ability to self-support or lack thereof; taxes and any other issue the court believes is important.

Legal assistance is imperative in complex family law cases

For complex family law cases, it is vital to have personalized service, experienced guidance and representation that can assess the situation and formulate creative strategies to achieve the desired goals.

In cases where alimony is the source of the disagreement, people need to understand the law and deviations that might impact them. As soon as the decision is made to divorce, it is critical to consult with professionals and decide on a plan immediately.