During divorce proceedings, the parties rely upon their respective attorneys, court-appointed mediators and the court in the process of establishing what type of spousal support, which is also called alimony, if any, is appropriate for that case and, if so, the length of the alimony and, most importantly, the amount of alimony. There are different types of alimony that are recognized by the law in the State of New Jersey depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case.
Temporary alimony is usually ordered by the court at the beginning stages of the divorce through a motion for pendente lite relief. The reason for temporary alimony is to transfer funds from the spouse who produces more to the other spouse when that spouse may be unemployed or significantly underemployed. The intention of temporary alimony is to maintain the status quo of the parties by making sure their respective roof expenses and household budget can be paid without any undue hardship. Temporary alimony usually only lasts until the divorce is resolved either by settlement or trial. Temporary alimony may be replaced by another type of alimony, such as limited durational alimony, open durational alimony, reimbursement alimony, or rehabilitative alimony.
Limited Durational Alimony
In some circumstances, one of the spouses may need a reasonable period of time in order to become self-supporting. Limited durational alimony sets a time frame for one spouse to receive a specific monthly amount from the other spouse in order to cover expenses until he or she can become self-reliant. Limited durational alimony carries a deadline and it only lasts for a certain period of months or years. Normally, limited durational alimony will not last longer than the length of the marriage.
Open Durational Alimony
In the past, New Jersey law used to refer to open durational alimony as permanent alimony. However, open durational alimony is now the preferred terminology. This type of alimony is awarded only in long-term marriages that lasted 20 years or more. Open durational alimony does not have a deadline, which means it is continuous. However, this does not mean that open durational alimony is infinite. If a spouse who receives durational alimony remarries, alimony may stop according to the divorce settlement agreement. Additionally, open durational alimony ends upon the retirement or death of the supporting spouse.
Reimbursement alimony occurs when a spouse financially supported the other to help pay for career training, certifications, and degrees. Marriages that lasted for a short period of time are also eligible for reimbursement alimony. This alimony is a repayment for the spouse that provided educational support.
Rehabilitative alimony is based on how long the courts believe it will take for one spouse to become self-supporting. Like reimbursement alimony, rehabilitative alimony has a limited time frame.
Changing Court-Approved Alimony
Even after the entry of the Final Judgment of Divorce, alimony can be modified where a party successfully demonstrates to the court that there has been a change in circumstances affecting the parties, such as remarriage, cohabitation, financial status, etc. In order to modify alimony after the entry of Final judgment of divorce, a post-judgment motion must be filed with the court.