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Overview of New Jersey's alimony law

Like many other states, New Jersey allows courts to order one party in a divorce to pay alimony, which also frequently gets referred to as spousal support, to the other party.

Court must consider a number of factors before awarding alimony. While the point of these factors is to help a court determine whether and to what extent one spouse needs, or deserves, spousal support payments from the other spouse, each of these factors can depend very heavily on a couple's individual circumstances. As such, a person's right to alimony should be discussed with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney.

By way of an overview, a New Jersey court will award one of four types of alimony. Perhaps the broadest type of alimony is open durational alimony, which are required payments that last until further order of the court or until other set circumstances occur, like retirement or re-marriage.

However, the law in most cases cuts off even open durational alimony when a marriage lasts less than 20 years. In such cases, the longest a court can usually order alimony is for a time equal to the length of the marriage. There is also limited durational alimony, in which a court orders payments for a term of months or years.

Other types of alimony include rehabilitative alimony and reimbursement alimony, and both cover special circumstances. Since rehabilitative alimony is supposed to help a spouse get back on his financial feet or on a healthy career track after a divorce, a court is supposed to set out a specific plan with which the person receiving alimony must comply.

The point of reimbursement alimony is to give credit to a spouse for any time in which she supported the family while her spouse pursued higher learning in the hopes of getting a better career.

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