Newark, NJ- New Jersey has notoriously unfair alimony laws, something lawmakers in the state are working on changing. If approved by the Assembly, the legislation would effectively end permanent alimony along with suspending payments when the paying spouse reaches retirement age.

In divorce, alimony is typically awarded to a spouse of lesser means for their contribution to the household. Alimony is a holdover from a time when women typically didn’t work outside of the home; their primary job was to take care of the home and children. Alimony assured that when a couple divorces, the spouse with lesser resources and skills would have a means of support which prevented them from plunging into poverty. While there are still housewives, and househusbands for that matter, alimony is not as typical as it once was, and relevant laws are consistently being reevaluated.

New Jersey lawmakers  introduced legislation that would end lifetime alimony payments and would allow a judge to adjust payments if the paying spouse becomes unemployed, disabled or retires. The law would suspend payments once a the spouse paying reaches federal retirement age.

“The time has come for the Legislature to address the problems with alimony in the state,” bill sponsor Sean Kean said to the Asbury Park Press. Adding, “New Jersey needs to move forward with comprehensive alimony reform legislation that would make the process fair and reasonable for both parties and reflective of the current times in which we live.”

Alimony and spousal support sound like the same thing, both are support payments paid to a former spouse, but there are subtle differences between the two. The word alimony is typically used when a man pays his former wife monthly support, but these days many woman are ordered to pay their ex-husbands support, therefore the term spousal support is more widely used.

Another primary difference between spousal support and alimony is that spousal support can be paid to spouse after they have separated and before they have actually settled their divorce. In contrast, alimony is maintenance payments paid to a spouse after their divorce is finalized. Both alimony and spousal support can be awarded to one spouse whether the couple has children or not and both are intended to provided support which can offset financial setbacks for lesser earning spouses.

Spousal support can be one lump sum or monthly payments dictated by the family court. When trying to obtain fair spousal support, it is incumbent for an individual to retain a divorce attorney to protect their interests.

There are a number of things that are taken into consideration when determining alimony and spousal support. Those factors include the needs, obligations, and resources of both parties, their age and health, duration of the marriage, factors that caused a breakdown in the marriage, and each spouses’ respective earning capacities. Getting a fair amount of alimony or spousal support, depends on whether a divorcing party has enlisted the services of an accomplished divorce attorney to argue on their behalf.