When spouses divorce, one spouse may request alimony from the other. Alimony is also known as spousal support. In New Jersey, the court will take several factors into consideration when deciding whether to award it and for how long.
The support is generally intended to provide for the lesser earning spouse’s financial needs, similar to the lifestyle they had while they were married.
The court will consider how long the spouses were married, their age and health, each spouse’s income and earning capacity, their standard of living during the marriage and their contributions to the marriage, among other factors.
Once the court awards alimony, it can be modified later, if necessary. Modification usually happens when the paying spouse’s financial circumstances change significantly, like an increase in income or job loss. It’s very important to go through the modification process, however, rather than to simply stop paying.
Failure to pay
If a spouse is ordered to pay alimony and does not, they can face serious consequences. One of the most common penalties is income withholding, where the court orders the paying spouse’s employer to withhold the alimony payment from their check and send it directly to the receiving spouse.
The court may also hold the non-paying spouse in contempt of court, which can result in fines and jail time. The court can also seize the non-paying spouse’s assets, like bank accounts and suspend their driver’s license or professional license.
The court may also order them to pay interest on any missed payments.