Evaluating Alimony Payments in New Jersey
In a divorce, if one of the parties makes a lower income than the other and the marriage lasted a considerable length of time, the non-moneyed spouse may be entitled to alimony. There are several factors that can affect the amount of money paid in spousal support, and it can be difficult to evaluate alimony payments in New Jersey without the help of a legal professional. Fortunately, a knowledgable spousal support attorney could assist in your evaluation.
Eligibility for Alimony
To be eligible for alimony, the parties have to be married, and there must be a disparity in their incomes. If the parties make the same amount, even if they were married for a long time, neither spouse would be eligible for alimony.
The length of an alimony agreement may depend on the particular case. In New Jersey, an individual married for up to 20 years is eligible for alimony payments up to the duration of the marriage. They may not receive payments for the full duration, and the actual number depends on several different factors.
If the parties are married for more than 20 years, the alimony would be considered open durational alimony and there would not be a set end date.
A change of circumstances for alimony eligibility can occur if the recipient gets an education, becomes employed, remarries, or cohabitates in a romantic relationship.
Potential Issues in Contested Alimony Cases
When an alimony case is contested in court, various issues may arise. For example, if a highly-contested case involves someone who is self-employed, a forensic accountant would have to analyze that party’s actual income. Sometimes tax returns are not accurate, so there would have to be an analysis of what the cash flow is.
Another issue would be if the parties have not reported taxes recently. If they are paid in cash, that could be a potential problem because it can be hard to assess their income level.
These issues may be presented in court and could result in undesired consequences. For example, if the court finds out that a party underreported, they have an obligation to report them to the IRS. It is best to settle those types of cases so that it does not come before a judge who would have to make that determination.
Factors in Evaluation of Spousal Support
When evaluating potential alimony payments, New Jersey attorneys look at the disparity in the parties’ incomes. It must be determined that one party is unable to maintain a comfortable standard of living without the support of the other.
The court will analyze a number of different factors and also look at the marital standard of living. The asset count, liabilities, tax returns, unearned income, and monthly expenses could help to determine the standard of living. Additionally, New Jersey courts evaluate the parties ages, careers, and childcare obligations when determining spousal support payments. These are all relevant factors, but there is no official formula to evaluate the final number.
A New Jersey Attorney Could Evaluate Your Spousal Support Payments
Determining the conditions of an alimony agreement can quickly become complicated. You may benefit from having an experienced New Jersey lawyer at your side to evaluate your options and make sure you are satisfied with the final alimony contract. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation with a skilled divorce attorney.