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How Long Does Spousal Support Last in NJ?

Wooden figures of family with child and gavel on a table. Divorce and alimony concept

Historically, alimony/spousal support was a given in most divorces. Families tended to have one breadwinner, and the legislature and courts determined that the non-earning spouse/homemaker typically needed alimony for financial support following the divorce. As traditional family roles have changed in recent years, so have the laws regarding alimony. Now, many families have two income earners, and alimony might or might not be appropriate at all. Should the court order alimony, however, there are important guidelines concerning how the alimony award should be calculated and how long support should last.

Continue reading to learn about how spousal support is determined in New Jersey. If you have questions or concerns regarding New Jersey spousal support, or if you are dealing with a current or future divorce, call an experienced New Jersey alimony attorney for advice and representation.

Open Durational Alimony in New Jersey

New Jersey law used to provide for “permanent” alimony for qualifying divorcing couples, meaning alimony with no end date. In 2014, the applicable law was amended to provide instead for “open durational” alimony. Open durational alimony is available only for couples that have been married or in a civil union for more than 20 years. Parties who receive open durational alimony will continue to receive alimony until there is a specific reason to terminate, such as the death of either party, the remarriage or cohabitation of the party receiving alimony, or a significant change in financial circumstances for either party.

Other Types of Alimony

Open durational alimony is rare and only awarded to couples who were together for at least 20 years before the divorce. Most married couples will look to other forms of spousal support. Three additional types of alimony can be ordered by a New Jersey court, depending upon the circumstances of the family:

  • Limited Duration Alimony. Limited duration alimony is alimony for a set period. If the couple was married for less than 20 years, then the duration of the alimony should not exceed the length of the marriage. For example, if the couple was married for 10 years, the alimony should last for no longer than 10 years. Limited duration alimony may be terminated early upon a significant change in financial circumstance for either party, much like open durational alimony.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is appropriate where one spouse would be able to become financially self-sufficient with additional education, training, or experience. Rehabilitative alimony is meant for a party that sacrificed their career to take care of the home and family; they are paid spousal support for long enough to see that they can pursue their own career and support themselves financially.
  • Reimbursement Alimony. Reimbursement alimony is meant to pay back one party who supported their spouse financially, specifically with regard to career-building activities. If one spouse paid for the other to attend college or medical school, for example, greatly increasing that spouse’s earning capacity, then the party who paid for the education may be entitled to reimbursement alimony to pay them back for their investment in their partner.

Call Our Seasoned New Jersey Alimony Law Firm Today for Advice and Assistance

If you’re considering divorce or facing issues involving alimony/spousal support, child support, child custody, or other family law issues in New Jersey, contact the zealous and effective Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation.

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