As spousal roles have evolved beyond those once customary, so have men’s divorce rights towards fair and reasonable post-marriage financial resolutions and alimony. In the past, divorce alimony laws have been biased towards women regardless of husbands’ financial wherewithal.
But times have changed, and New Jersey divorce and alimony laws reflect emerging economic equity for divorced men. Historically, it was usually the woman who claimed alimony; however, on September 10, 2014, Governor Chris Christie approved Bill 845, which changed some alimony rules about how spousal support is factored. The new laws have proven definitively more equitable for men.
In general, the New Jersey alimony laws are unbiased and focus on each spouse’s financial facts. Specifically, New Jersey alimony laws are not based on gender but on an overall analysis of both husbands’ and wives’ economic conditions and their respective ability to earn an income. New Jersey laws also consider the marital net assets, liabilities, and debts before ordering a specific alimony amount. The newer New Jersey laws prohibit judges from gender discrimination when calculating alimony payments. And a woman doesn’t have to be wealthy to be ordered to pay spousal support but just in a better financial position than a man.
When that’s the case, the alimony a husband may acquire from his wife is determined by her financial status and fortitude and his current income and income-earning capacity, his health, lifestyle, and age, and the longevity of the marriage among other legal applications.
For men, that’s good news because no longer are alimony payments based on old societal traditions that obligate ex-husbands to provide excessive, inequitable support to ex-wives simply because they are male. Regardless of the reasons that caused the divorce, a divorced husband has legal rights for financially fair treatment.
Types of Alimony
Though there are certain permanent alimony legal restrictions, especially when the marriage lasted less than ten years, a husband may have the right to short-term spousal support. To receive short-term support from his wife, a husband will have to document his inability to appropriately care for himself until he can improve his financial position through education, acquiring new or better employment and a self-sustaining income. Under these provisions, while an ex-husband may not be entitled to lifetime alimony, he may be entitled to non-permanent support—temporary (pendente lite), limited duration, rehabilitative, and reimbursement alimony.
Temporary or Interim Financial Support—Pendente Lite Alimony
While a divorce is pending, the husband may have the right to receive temporary or “interim” (pendente lite) spousal support if he has been financially dependent on his wife. The purpose of pendente lite alimony is to pay a husband’s living expenses and keep him financially afloat until the divorce is final and there has been a final alimony decree.
Limited Duration Alimony
Temporary spousal support—limited-duration alimony—may be ordered when a husband needs time to become self-supporting. The court will require the husband to follow certain conditions that will lead to his improved financial status, or the limited-duration alimony may be terminated.
Rehabilitative Alimony—Temporary Financial Support
In the case where a dependent husband needs job training and/or education that will lead to employment or a better job or profession, the court may award this form of temporary spousal support. For a husband to receive rehabilitative alimony, he will be required to define what he intends to do to improve his financial status and how long job training or education will take.
Reimbursement Alimony—Compensatory Payment
When a husband financially supported his wife while she acquired advanced education meant to benefit both spouses, he may be entitled to reimbursement. The purpose of reimbursement alimony is to compensate him for his financial contribution during that period if the divorce occurred before he received equitable benefits.
Permanent Alimony—Lifetime Spousal Financial Support
If you have been married for ten years or more, the State of New Jersey considers that a long-term marriage. Therefore, a husband may be able to claim lifetime alimony, depending on certain conditions, from his wife. Permanent alimony is typically only awarded when a marriage is legally defined as long-term and a dependent spouse is unable to be self-supporting. Though this type of support is labeled “permanent,” it rarely is unless a husband has legitimate reasons why he can’t become financially self-sufficient. Permanent alimony may be awarded, but a wife is entitled to petition the court for an amendment later if an ex-husband’s financial circumstances change.
Court-free Alimony Negotiation
When divorcing spouses are on relatively good terms, they may consider avoiding the cost of going to court by negotiating through their attorneys a mutual stipulation or agreement for the support amount. In this case, the same deciding factors would still apply, such as marital lifestyle, spousal ability to pay, and the husband’s ability to contribute to his own support. For this type of alimony settlement, it’s crucial that negative emotional expressions be controlled during the divorce process if you want an amicable, court-free divorce. When emotions get out of control during a divorce, they can exacerbate emotional and financial costs in an unnecessarily negative way.
Conversely, if the divorcing parties are antagonistic towards each other, especially where finances are concerned, the litigation associated with spousal support is often excessively complex, stressful, and costly.
New Jersey Alimony Laws Provide Protection for Husbands
New Jersey courts calculate alimony based on the following factors:
- New Jersey courts calculate alimony based on the following factors:
- Duration of the marriage.
- Age, physical and emotional health of the spouses.
- Marriage lifestyle and the expectation of a comparable standard of living.
- Earning capacities of the respective spouses.
- Education levels, vocational skills, and employability of each spouse.
- Absence from employment length especially in the case of time spent raising children.
- Parental responsibilities for existing children who arose out of the marriage.
- Time and expense required to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking support for future accessibility to assets and income.
- History of financial and/or non-financial contributions to the marriage by each spouse.
- History and future educational contributions for children.
- Equitable property and payout distribution.
- Investment income.
- Tax treatment and consequences to both spouses of alimony.
- Any other financial factors the court may decide are relevant.
A Qualified Alimony Attorney Can Ensure Husbands Receive Fair Financial Resolution
Because every divorcing spouse’s financial needs and marital economics are unique, it’s crucial that a husband acquire an experienced, knowledgeable spousal support attorney to ensure he is treated fairly and equitably. The Micklin Law Group has practiced family and divorce law for over 30 years and has helped hundreds of husbands achieve fair and equitable alimony resolutions. Whether you’re seeking spousal support or want attorney assistance to ensure you aren’t forced to pay an unreasonable amount of alimony to your ex-wife, we can provide you with the critical resources and knowledge you need.
If you have questions about alimony or any other matters involving divorce, Micklin Law Group’s attorneys are fully equipped to meet with you in our Virtual Law Office. We can also speak with you by phone at 973.562.0100 (Nutley office) or 862.245.4620 (Montclair office). Or if you prefer, send us a message on our confidential contact form.
Covid-19 Virtual Law Office Meetings Continue to Advise You On Your Rights
The New Jersey divorce attorneys at the Micklin Law Group continue to work remotely to ensure our clients’ and staff’s safety. Through our electronic infrastructure, we can effectively communicate with our clients and access their files on an ongoing basis. Our undeterred remote access to the court and court records also continues. Therefore, our clients’ cases can proceed in as timely a manner as possible.