New Jersey utilizes a system of diverse criteria when determining the necessity for spousal support in divorce cases. The court considers each request for alimony or spousal maintenance on a case-by-case basis, awarding support based on a number of important factors.
These factors include, first of all, the financial picture of the divorcing couple. The partner's need for financial support and the other partner's ability to pay financial support are the primary elements upon which the court will base its decision. The length of time for which they were married, along with the health and ability to work of both parties, must also be taken into account. Also considered are a variety of other factors including the length of the marriage and the contributions or sacrifices that spouses may have made to each other's careers.
The standard of living that the couple maintained will be weighed in the balance when contemplating the amount of support that would be appropriate, as will the ability of both ex-spouses to earn money. An ex-spouse who has been gone from the job market during the course of a decades-long marriage may have an impaired ability to maintain financial independence, whereas a young divorcée with no interruption in work history may find being self-supporting less of a challenge. The presence of assets that produce income could also influence the court's decision.
The award of spousal support may have wide-ranging effects on the property distribution of a divorcing couple as well. It can be advantageous to a spouse who is going through a divorce to seek the advice and counsel of a family law attorney on these matters.
Source: Divorce Support, "New Jersey Spousal Support/Maintenance/Alimony Factors", September 15, 2014