View from a divorce lawyer in New Jersey concerning what some men and women call the freedom tax-ALIMONY—-You may get mad, you may be angry after you read this or you may be slightly relieved as to how much alimony you must pay to your spouse in New Jersey or if you are the dependent spouse, how much you can obtain in a New Jersey divorce court. As it depends on a case by case basis and alimony is not automatic in any divorce in New Jersey, as a Jersey City divorce lawyer that handles both contested and amicable divorces, I will explain the key factors in determining how much if any alimony you may have to pay because of the divorce.
First, lets assume your case is a case that can be deemed an alimony case. A case where there is a significant income gap between the spouses and that the marriage is more than 2 years (2 years is not the starting point by law, alimony can be awarded in shorter marriages and in some cases will not be awarded in marriages lasting only two years).
Ok, so you have an alimony case. For example you earn $150,000 per year and your spouse does not work. Your spouse has not worked the entire marriage. However, prior to your marriage, your spouse earned $75,000 per year or even if your spouse did not work and has the ability to work a certain job because he or she has a Masters Degree from Rutgers University (My Law School Alma Mater). What we would do then is seek employment statistics and/or use the United States Census data for the Northeast region to come up with a reasonable imputed income to use for the alimony and/or child support calculations because the court will not use zero for your spouse’s income especially if the marriage is less than 20 years. So, let us stay with $75,000. Again, while there is no absolute calculation, the court will try to see how the parties lived (to come up with or understand the economic lifestyle led). This is essentially the household budget, entertainment, a savings component, etc. Due to this, the alimony number can range dramatically but lets use what many call the “rule of thumb 1/3 rule.” This essentially means if you subtract your spouses 75k from your 150k, leaving 75,000 which you multiply by 33% and that will give you a round about number as to how much alimony may be. Again, alimony is not automatic, there are ways around alimony if you have assets but if you do not want to give more assets away and there is a sizable income gap, it could be an alimony case in reality. Now, alimony is a tax deduction for the payor and the more alimony you pay, the less child support you will pay which is a straight calculation (New Jersey Child Support Guidelines).
If you are facing a divorce or want to file for divorce in Hudson County, Essex County, Union County or beyond, my team and I at the Artusa Law Firm of Jersey City can help guide you every step of the way. Contact us on 201-706-7910 to discuss your case.