Are Alimony Payments Dependent On the Length of My Marriage?

When you and your spouse divorce, it can impact every aspect of your life, but none more so than your finances. Unfortunately, you may find that you may be unable to support yourself without your spouse’s income. As such, you may be able to receive spousal support payments from your ex. However, you may worry that you weren’t married long enough to qualify for alimony payments. Keep reading to discover what factors influence spousal support, and learn how a New Jersey alimony attorney can help you during this complex process.

Will the Length of My Marriage Determine My Alimony Payments?

When divorcing, there are no strict guidelines on how long you must be married to receive alimony. However, this is a factor that is taken into consideration when a decision is made.

It’s also important to understand that if you receive alimony payments, it cannot last longer than the length of the marriage. If you were married for seven years, your spousal support will not last longer than seven years. However, based on the circumstances of your union, the judge may decide to grant longer or shorter payment periods.

If your marriage lasted longer than twenty years and you were financially dependent on your spouse for the duration of the marriage you may be eligible to receive what’s known as open durational alimony. This means you will receive spousal support until you become financially eligible or no longer qualify under New Jersey laws.

What Influences Spousal Support?

There are several factors the courts will review when deciding whether or not to award one party alimony. They will take the following factors into consideration before issuing a decision:

  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • What each spouse’s earning capability is
  • The current job market
  • What each spouse contributed to the marriage both financially and in terms of home-making
  • Whether or not one spouse sacrificed their career to be a stay-at-home parent
  • If there are any pressing health concerns
  • If the recipient spouse would need to attend school or training courses to earn an income
  • How financially dependent the recipient’s spouse is on the other

It’s important to understand that just as these elements can influence whether or not spousal support is awarded, additional factors can impact whether or not awarded payments are modified. For example, if you cohabitate with a new partner while receiving alimony from your ex, they can request the payments be terminated. When you share finances with a new partner, the paying spouse no longer has an obligation to support you.

At the Lawrence Law Firm, we understand these are confusing and complex issues. As such, we will do everything possible to help you through this time. Our skilled and dedicated legal team can help you achieve your goals if enduring a divorce. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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