Sadly, the fear of alimony payments can keep some marriages together longer than they should be together. If you find yourself in that camp in New Jersey, then perhaps learning a little more could help. What should you know about alimony law in New Jersey? Learn about several common misconceptions and how long alimony payments can last under state law.
Common Misconceptions of Alimony Law in New Jersey
To many, alimony can almost be a dirty word and it actually gets a bad rap when it was designed to help people ease their way out of marriage while keeping things fair and balanced. Here are a few misconceptions:
- Alimony can be forever: This misconception does have some merit to it. There are some people who, under New Jersey law, were awarded permanent alimony. However, this is no longer the case. As of 2014, alimony cannot be permanent in New Jersey. We will get into specifics about the length of alimony below.
- Alimony can’t be changed: In fact, alimony can be changed. If the alimony payer experiences hardship or a decrease in income, they can request a reduction in alimony payments.
- Alimony can’t be claimed on taxes: This is at least partially true. According to the federal tax code, any agreement entered into after 2018 cannot be deducted. However, New Jersey state law does allow for such deductions though the alimony recipient must claim that as reported income as well.
- Alimony continues as long as the recipient doesn’t remarry: Actually, if an alimony recipient begins a cohabitating relationship with someone else in which they are supporting each other financially, this can end alimony payments.
- Gender matters: This is completely false. In all, there are 14 factors that the courts use when determining alimony and none of them consider the gender of either spouse. This means that be they husband or wife, either spouse may receive alimony.
How Long Can Alimony Payments Last in New Jersey?
Here there’s a big difference between how long it can last and how long the courts will decide. The law states that for marriages lasting under 20 years, alimony payments are not to last longer than the length of the marriage unless there are extenuating circumstances. Marriages beyond 20 years have no such restriction.
In practice, however, typically alimony payments last for half the length of the marriage. In other words, if you were married for 8 years, 4 years of alimony payments would be considered common.
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