What is alimony?

Alimony refers to the support of one spouse by the other while the parties are going through divorce proceedings and also after the parties are divorced. Traditionally, courts may require the spouse that makes more money to provide alimony to the spouse that makes less money. Often, a party will file a motion, seeking interim or pendente lite support. The main goal of alimony is to give the supported spouse relatively the same level of maintenance or support that they enjoyed the duration of the marriage.

What are the different types of alimony?

There are different types of alimony, and states use different terminology to describe different types of alimony. These include permanent alimony, limited duration alimony, reimbursement alimony, rehabilitative alimony, alimony in solido, alimony in gross, alimony in future, periodic alimony, and transitional alimony.

New Jersey recognizes rehabilitative, reimbursement, limited duration, and permanent alimony. Often courts will award pendente lite or temporary support to maintain a spouse between the time of separation and eventual divorce. The other types of

LegalSpeak: Tennessee v. New Jersey State Laws on Alimony

Tennessee law provides for the following factors:

(1) The relative earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party, including income from pension, profit sharing or retirement plans and all other sources;

(2) The relative education and training of each party, the ability and opportunity of each party to secure such education and training, and the necessity of a party to secure further education and training to improve such party's earning capacity to a reasonable level;

(3) The duration of the marriage;

(4) The age and mental condition of each party;

(5) The physical condition of each party; including, but not limited to, physical disability or incapacity due to a chronic debilitating disease;

(6) The extent to which it would be undesirable for a party to seek employment outside the home because such party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage;

(7) The separate assets of each party, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;

(8) The provisions made with regard to the marital property as defined in ยง 36-4-121;

(9) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;

(10) The extent to which each party has made such tangible and intangible contributions to the marriage as monetary and homemaker contributions, and tangible and intangible contributions by a party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;

(11) The relative fault of the parties in cases where the court, in its discretion, deems it appropriate to do so; and

(12) Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

New Jersey, NJSA 2A:34-23(b)(1)-(13) considers many of the same factors:

(1) The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;

(2) The duration of the marriage;

(3) The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;

(4) The standard of living established in the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living;

(5) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employ-ability of the parties;

(6) The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;

(7) The parental responsibilities for the children;

(8) The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment .;

(9) The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage by each party .;

(10) The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payments on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;

(11) The income available to either party through investments] ...;

(12) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award .; and

(13) Any other factors which the court may deem just.

alimony are for a given period of time ranging from a couple years to virtually permanent support.

What are the factors a court considers in deciding whether and how much to award in alimony?

Again, this can vary depending upon respective state law. The two most important factors in most states are the need of the lower-earning spouse and the ability of the higher-earning spouse to pay such spousal support.

Judges often award alimony if one spouse earns signicantly more than the other and/or has considerably more valuable assets (iStock).

Judges often award alimony if one spouse earns signicantly more than the other and/or has considerably more valuable assets (iStock).

What happens if your former spouse to whom you are paying alimony remarries?

Most states provide that if a person receiving alimony remarries, then the obligation to pay alimony terminates. For example, Alabama law provides that a decree for alimony "shall be modified by the court to provide for the termination of such alimony upon petition of a party to the decree and proof that the spouse receiving such alimony has remarried or that such spouse is living openly or cohabiting with a member of the opposite sex."

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