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How does a judge decide to order alimony?

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2023 | Divorce

The ABA Journal reported that in 2018, 98% of people receiving alimony were women. While this is common, there are situations where men will receive spousal support, but it all depends on the factors the court uses to make the determination.

In the state of New Jersey, determining the need for alimony is a thoughtful and meticulous process that takes into account various factors to ensure fairness and equity.

Duration of the marriage

The length of the marriage is often a pivotal factor in determining the need for alimony. Shorter marriages may not warrant the payment, while longer marriages may result in an increased likelihood of the court granting spousal support.

Standard of living during the marriage

Maintaining the same or a similar standard of living that both spouses enjoyed during their marriage is a fundamental principle in spousal support determination. A judge will aim to ensure that the spouse seeking support can continue living in a manner consistent with their pre-divorce lifestyle.

Earning capacities

The judge will assess the employment and earning capacities of both spouses. If one spouse has limited employment opportunities or is facing challenges due to age or health, alimony may be more likely.

Contributions to the marriage

The non-financial contributions of a spouse, such as homemaking and childcare, can play a role in the decision. Judges consider the value of these contributions. A spouse who devoted significant time to these responsibilities may have a stronger claim for support.

Child custody and support

The custody and support arrangements for any children from the marriage are essential factors. The judge will consider the financial obligations associated with child support when determining alimony.

Education and training

If the spouse seeking alimony requires education or training to become self-sufficient, the judge may factor this into the decision. They may grant rehabilitative alimony to help the spouse acquire the necessary skills to support themselves.

Assets and liabilities

The division of assets and liabilities also plays into spousal support considerations. Judges may take into account the property and debts allocated to each spouse when determining the need for further financial support.

Age and health

The age and health of both spouses are important to the decision. If one spouse is in poor health or nearing retirement age, they may require additional financial support.

New Jersey law grants judges the discretion to consider any other pertinent factors when determining the need for alimony. This flexibility allows the court to account for unique circumstances that may not fit neatly into specific categories.


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