The official term for alimony is spousal support and it is not always warranted in every divorce. When deciding if alimony is justified, couples also have to decide which type makes sense for their circumstances. There are four types of spousal support: permanent, limited duration, rehabilitative and reimbursement.
Permanent alimony is a misnomer, as it may not always be permanent. It can change or end when the incomes of one or both of the parties changes significantly. It is awarded in long-term marriages where there is little chance that a spouse would be able to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage without the extra financial support. Permanent alimony is common in long-term marriages with the stereotypical situation where both parties were working at the start of the marriage and then one stops working to stay home with the kids. One person’s career continues to grow and the other’s is non-existent. Upon divorce it is unlikely that the stay-at-home parent’s return-to-the-workforce salary will ever catch up to the parent who has continuously worked and he/she will not be able to maintain the established standard of living without extra financial support.
Limited duration alimony is to be paid for a specific period of time. It is appropriate for shorter-term marriages or marriages where one spouse will be able to catch up to the standard of living established during the marriage with some initial financial backing.
Rehabilitative alimony is also paid for a set time frame while the spouse is preparing to become self-sufficient. So the spouse may be returning to school or starting a business and needs the financial support initially until he/she completes the venture and starts earning his/her own income.
Reimbursement alimony is repayment of financial support given during the marriage. A typical situation is when one spouse worked to put the other spouse through law, medical or graduate school, expecting to enjoy the benefit of the earning capacity of that higher education. Both spouses worked toward that higher degree and are entitled to its financial profits.
The spousal support laws in New Jersey may be changing, but the emotional responses to alimony remain heated. If you need help figuring out your alimony during your divorce, a divorce mediator at Westfield Mediation, LLC, can help you. For more information about spousal support or divorce mediation contact Randi M. Albert, JD, or Michelle Weinberg, LMFT, at Westfield Mediation, LLC, at 908.913.0373. View our website at www.westfieldnjmediation.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.