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How long does alimony usually last after a New Jersey divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | DIVORCE - Divorce |

Sorting out financial issues can be one of the most pressing challenges in a New Jersey divorce. Spouses typically have years of property and debts to divide. There may also be financial support issues that they need to address. When spouses share children, one parent could end up paying child support to the other. In some scenarios, a dependent or lower-earning spouse could also request spousal support or alimony payments.

Someone subject to a spousal support or alimony order in New Jersey has to make monthly payments to their spouse for a set amount of time. The courts look at factors ranging from the health of both spouses and the length of the marriage to the current income and earning potential of each spouse. How long does New Jersey alimony usually last?

Most alimony is rehabilitative

Typically, the goal of an alimony or spousal support order is to help someone overcome short-term financial hardship to become independent after a divorce. Many alimony orders only last for a few years. In fact, New Jersey state law clearly states that if a marriage lasted less than 20 years, the alimony order should not last for longer than the duration of the marriage except in highly unusual cases. Spouses ending marriages that lasted longer than 20 years are sometimes subject to longer or even indefinite alimony orders. Permanent alimony is relatively rare and is only an option in cases involving severe health challenges, marital contracts and other unusual situations.

Alimony orders can sometimes end early

Regardless of how long the initial alimony order is for, people can sometimes go back to court to change or end alimony obligations. The party paying alimony or spousal support could ask to modify the order when they have had a reduction in their income or have experienced other financial hardship. Evidence of the recipient improving their economic circumstances could also justify a reduction or termination of alimony. If the party receiving alimony remarries or begins cohabitating with a new romantic partner, that change in living circumstances might also justify an early termination of alimony in New Jersey.

Understanding how long alimony or spousal support may last could help people better address financial disagreements during New Jersey divorce negotiations or litigation.