Originally, Alimony (sometimes called “maintenance” or “spousal support”) was designed for a system where the husband’s role was to support his wife. If a couple divorced, the husband continued to be responsible for supporting his ex-wife financially until she remarried.
In modern times, the purpose of alimony is to allow the recipient (usually the wife) to maintain financial independence and, if possible, to maintain a lifestyle similar to the lifestyle that she enjoyed during the marriage.
There are a number of types of alimony, designed for particular circumstances.
In general, they are:
- Temporary Alimony (sometimes called temporary maintenance or pendent lite alimony) can be granted while the divorce case is proceeding in order to preserve the status quo until a there is a final divorce decree.
- Rehabilitative Alimony is designed to allow the receiving person to get education or training in order to become self-supporting.
- Limited Duration Alimony provides that alimony be paid for a specific amount of time (that could be months or years).
- Reimbursement Alimony recognizes the contribution that one spouse made to the career, education or advancement of the other.
- Permanent Alimony typically is awarded after a long term marriage especially when the receiving person has not been employed during the marriage, or has been underemployed because of primary responsibility of taking care of the children, family and home.
In New York and in New Jersey there is no mathematical formula for determining the amount of post-divorce alimony or maintenance (although in New York there is a formula for temporary maintenance). There are factors, or criteria, that a judge is supposed to use when ordering an amount of alimony to be paid in a litigated court case. Generally, those factors include the length of the marriage, the ages of the parties, need and ability to pay, earning capacity, education and others. The Judge’s discretion to take into account any circumstances that he or she deems relevant makes the ability to predict what a given judge will order in a given case, very difficult, to say the least.
Isn’t it better for couples to work out alimony issues and agree on terms that both of them can live with, rather than leaving the decision to a stranger (a judge) who doesn’t know them or their family?
Wouldn’t YOU rather make YOUR own decisions about this important matter?
In mediation and collaborative law the couples decides all issues including alimony.