Determining Alimony Payments in Hackensack

Determining Alimony Payments in Hackensack

Alimony is defined as financial support payments from one former spouse to the other former spouse. This issue is often contentious during divorce proceedings, as the parties frequently disagree on what is a reasonable amount of alimony to pay and how long it should be paid. When the parties disagree on this issue, the Court can order alimony payments to be made to a former spouse with particular needs or lower income.

These calculations are complex and the process of determining the appropriate amount and how long to pay that amount is not always straightforward. A dedicated alimony attorney at Moskowitz Law Group can answer questions about determining alimony payments in Hackensack. Call our law office today to schedule an initial consultation.

Why Standard of Living Matters

Alimony payments are not ordered in every case. Instead, the Court first looks at a couple’s standard of living during the course of their marriage to determine if alimony is appropriate. The standard of living during the marriage is referred to as the “lifestyle of the marriage.” Spousal support is intended to ensure that the supported spouse does not face a drastic change in their quality of life after a divorce, regardless of their income. In other words, alimony is intended to allow the supported spouse to enjoy a lifestyle reasonably comparable to the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage. That said, the law provides that neither spouse has a greater entitlement to the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage than the other spouse.

The marital lifestyle includes virtually every aspect of the couple’s life, such as the size of their home, how often they vacationed, and how much they spent on restaurants and any other luxuries.

The goal of alimony is not to perfectly replicate the marital lifestyle, but to provide the supported spouse with a comparable standard of living after the divorce. Judges must strike a balance between the parties beginning to live separate lives while avoiding a situation where one spouse lives dramatically below the standard of living they have been used to.

Practically speaking, the spouse who earns the most may be required to make alimony payments to ensure their spouse’s standard of living is reasonably similar prior to the divorce. However, these payments are not always awarded in a divorce proceeding. It all depends on the facts and circumstances of the couple’s case.

Factors That Judges Consider in Alimony Decisions

There is a long list of factors that the Court considers when determining whether alimony should be paid, how much, and for how long. One of the first considerations is the length of the marriage. While this is essential, there is no minimum amount of time a couple must be married to qualify for alimony to be awarded. Some of the other factors include:

  • One spouse’s ability to pay
  • The other spouse’s need
  • Whether either spouse needs to rehabilitate their employability
  • Non-financial contributions to the marriage
  • Parenting duties
  • Living standards

Considering these factors will give a judge a picture of what is fair. A judge has the ability to use this information as they see fit when determining Hackensack alimony payments.

Recalculating Alimony Obligations

Circumstances may change, including for ex-spouses when alimony is being paid. For instance, a payor spouse may suddenly find themselves unable to afford their alimony payments due to an involuntary and permanent loss of a job or other income.

A judge retains the power to revisit alimony agreements and orders and recalculate alimony payments. This might involve ending the payments entirely or reducing them to a more manageable amount. Under the law, modifications are only permitted upon a showing of a permanent, involuntary, and substantial change in circumstances such as loss of employment or disability.

Learn More about Determining Alimony in Hackensack

If you are ready to learn more about how alimony issues may affect you, speak with a hardworking family law attorney. Our knowledgeable legal team can advise you on what to expect when determining alimony payments in Hackensack. Get in touch with Moskowitz Law Group today to schedule a private consultation to discuss your case.

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