The Types of Alimony in New Jersey

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Whether you’re considering a divorce or already in the midst of one, alimony has probably been something that’s crossed your mind. You may not know that in New Jersey, alimony is offered in several different types depending on you and your former spouse’s financial situation. Deciding which type of alimony fits best with your specific case can be a complicated process, especially considering that multiple types of alimony can be combined in certain situations. The following information is offered to help New Jersey residents better understand how the state approaches issues of alimony and spousal support.

What is Open Durational Alimony?

Open durational alimony used to be known as permanent alimony in New Jersey, but the name and definition were changed in 2014. It is now less commonly awarded, usually only agreed upon when a supported spouse of a long-term marriage is unable to financially support themselves. Open durational alimony has no determined ending date, and in most cases, it ends when the spouse receiving the alimony reaches the traditional retirement age. It can also be terminated if your financial situation changes and the New Jersey courts deem that the payments are no longer needed.


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Another thing to consider about this type of alimony is it is almost solely awarded only to couples who have been married no less than 20 years. If your marriage was short-term, then this type of alimony is probably not for you.

What is Pendente Lite Alimony?

Pendente lite alimony is only awarded during the process of a divorce. It’s temporary and is meant to match the financial situation of both parties before the marriage. This type of alimony does not take into consideration factors that may play a large part in determining long-term plans for alimony. It is only to make sure each spouse has roughly the same amount of money as they did coming into the relationship so that everything is fair until more permanent plans can be made.

What is Limited Durational Alimony?

This type of alimony is also known as the term alimony or durational alimony. This is because, as the names suggest, this alimony is set to exist only for a certain period of time, and either has a specific end date set by the New Jersey courts or is agreed to end once the dependent spouse reaches financial stability. The courts will decide exactly how long this alimony will last for the supported spouse based on various factors. The most important factor considered, however, is the length of the marriage.


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Limited durational alimony is typically awarded to parties who were married for shorter terms. Before New Jersey law changed in 2014, this type of alimony was mainly awarded to marriages that had existed for around 10-15 years. Now, however, if the marriage lasted less than 20 years, limited durational alimony is considered an option. Typically, limited durational alimony doesn’t exceed the length of the marriage, meaning that a dependent spouse who was married for 9 years would only receive alimony for 9 years or less.

What is Rehabilitative Alimony?

Rehabilitative alimony is most often awarded to a spouse who needs extra help getting back into the workplace. For example, a spouse who left college without earning their degree to take care of one or more children would be rewarded this type of alimony, as would one who left work to support their partner during a time of need or emergency.

This type of alimony is awarded on a short-term basis and for a specific period of time, or until the dependent spouse obtains the skills and qualifications necessary to re-enter the workforce. The alimony may cover the cost of tuition, housing, training, and other living expenses during the time it is awarded.

What is Reimbursement Alimony?

Reimbursement alimony is used in cases where one spouse attended college, trade school, or work training and the other spouse took some or all financial responsibility during that portion of the marriage. After the divorce, the spouse who paid these costs may be reimbursed through this type of alimony. The party who sacrificed their own opportunities or earnings may receive alimony for previously contributing towards the payment of their spouse’s education expenses, travel costs, housing costs, or household expenses.


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Reimbursement alimony can be combined with other types of alimony, but this is rather rare. Reimbursement alimony is often awarded because there is little basis for any other type of alimony to be received. An example would be if the marriage was incredibly brief, making the spouse ineligible for other types of support. Whatever the reason, reimbursement alimony exists to make things fair for a spouse who intentionally put their own finances towards their partner’s personal goals.

Determining Which Alimony to Use

Determining appropriate alimony according to New Jersey law can be a complicated process, and the results can affect you far into your future. While the situation can seem stressful, the New Jersey law is made to ensure that the dependent spouse is able to live and thrive after the divorce is finalized. The courts will take into account your financial position before, during, and after the marriage, as well as the length of time you were married to your spouse and any needs the dependent spouse may have.

Preparing for divorce is never easy. There are numerous things to consider, and also a significant amount of stress that colors the entire process. This is an overview of what to expect. When you’re ready to learn more, call an attorney to get a personalized consultation.

Carrie S. Schultz

Carrie S. Schultz, Esq., the founder of Men's Rights Divorce & Family Law, is certified as a Matrimonial Law Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and practices solely within the area of divorce and family law. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law.

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