In New Jersey, either party in a divorce may request that the other pay alimony on a temporary or permanent basis in most cases. There are certain circumstances under which a person may not be eligible to make such a request and still others that, while a request is allowed, it may not be granted. Accordingly, an alimony award is not automatically granted just because one spouse requests it.
Categories of people who will not ever be eligible for an alimony award include those who have been convicted of various homicide offenses for killing a person to whom the divorcing party is related. In order for a requester to be ineligible, the murder or criminal homicide must have occurred after the parties married. People who have already divorced their spouse may also not later go back after the divorce is final and then request alimony for the first time in a post-dissolution proceeding. Requests must be made while the divorce is still pending.
For most people, an alimony request can be made. In making its determination, the court will consider how long the parties were married, their relative incomes and ability to support themselves independently, the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony and other factors. Resulting alimony awards may be permanent, durational for a limited time period or purely rehabilitative to allow the person time to complete an education or obtain necessary work skills.
Alimony is not automatically granted in a divorce just because a person requests it. Courts can review the factors and determine that alimony is unnecessary. It will be up to the person who is requesting it to demonstrate to the court that it is needed and that a decision to grant it would be just and equitable under the circumstances of their financial situation.
Source: Womens' Law, "Article 6 Alimony and Maintenance", November 11, 2014