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How to Make a Successful Claim for Alimony or Spousal Maintenance

If you are considering seeking alimony in your divorce proceedings, there are a number of facts and factors you need to bear in mind to enhance your odds for success in obtaining this type of financial support. First, you need to have a clear understanding of the key considerations used by a court when considering an award of spousal maintenance. Second, with those points in mind, you need to contemplate what type of separate maintenance you actually intend to seek in your case.

Key Considerations of the Court When Alimony is Sought

Spousal maintenance is not as widely available as it was even a couple of decades ago. There are a number of reasons why this movement away from more routinely awarding this type of financial support has occurred. Chief among them is the fact that in this day and age, both spouses oftentimes have their own careers and contribute in a relatively similar manner to the marital finances.

With that said, when a party does desire to seek spousal maintenance, the court utilizes a set of key considerations when determining whether this type of support is necessary and appropriate. Some of the the judicial considerations include:

  • Actual need of the party seeking spousal maintenance
  • Ability of the other party to pay spousal maintenance
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and health of both parties
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Earning capabilities of the parties
  • Length of time for a party to establish financial independence

When it comes to seeking an award of spousal support, you need to be prepared to address more than one of the considerations set forth here. In other words, a compelling case for this type of support depends upon a demonstration that multiple sound reasons exists for a court to order this spousal maintenance in divorce proceedings.

Not only will you need to present a compelling argument in favor of an award of spousal support but need to gather and present appropriate supporting evidence as well. In addition, you need to be able to counter any arguments the other party to a divorce case may make contenting that spousal support is not necessary or appropriate in your case. Matters associated with spousal support may be taken up at a divorce trial or during a special hearing set up to consider maintenance.

Types of Alimony in New Jersey

There are four types of spousal support structures found in New Jersey divorces. These are:

  • Open durational alimony: Open durational spousal maintenance historically was known as permanent spousal support. When this type of spousal maintenance is ordered by the court in a divorce case, there is no specific timeframe set for how long it will last or be paid by the spouse with the obligation to make such payments. This type of support is more often awarded when a marriage has been for a longer period of time or a spouse has worked in the home and not outside of the residence during the course of the marriage.
  • Limited durational spousal support: As the moniker implies, limited durational spousal support contrasts with the open derivation because it has a specific time period in which it will be paid. This type of spousal support is apt to be awarded in a case in which the marriage was for a relative short period of time.
  • Rehabilitative spousal maintenance: Rehabilitative maintenance is awarded in a New Jersey divorce case to permit a spouse the ability to become financially self-sufficient. For example, this type of support might be awarded to give the recipient time to finish his or her education.
  • Reimbursement spousal support: Finally, this type of spousal support is provided when a spouse has supported the other in obtaining an education or some other similar endeavor. Reimbursement support works to provide money to a spouse who set aside his or her own earning possibilities to assist the other spouse in education or career advancement.

If you have questions about spousal support or any other issues associated with New Jersey marital dissolution proceedings, call (201) 845-7400.

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