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Nonworking spouses may receive temporary alimony

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2022 | Firm News |

New Jersey residents may request alimony or spousal support as part of their divorce decrees. As reported by, a judge may consider awarding financial support to a nonworking spouse to maintain a couple’s standard of living. Alimony may not, however, last for the rest of their lives.

A nonworking ex-spouse may receive spousal support as a temporary arrangement. An ex-spouse may need support long enough to obtain employment or learn new skills before earning an income that supports the previous marital lifestyle.

Judges may consider a nonworking spouse’s potential income

Before determining how much alimony to assign, a judge may ask about the nonworking spouse’s education and work history. If an individual quit a former career, for example, to raise children, a judge may order enough support to receive training to compete in today’s job market. An anticipated retirement income may, however, affect a judge’s decision to award alimony.

Couples nearing retirement may need to reveal future income streams. As noted by Investment News, a divorce may result in the court dividing a working spouse’s retirement plan. In the case of marriages that lasted 10 years or more, a nonworking spouse may apply for Social Security retirement benefits. The Social Security Administration will most likely base its eligibility decision on the working spouse’s employment history.

Certain issues may hinder a spouse’s ability to work

Individuals with a disability or an illness may find it difficult to return to work after a divorce. According to Psychology Today, issues such as chronic anxiety or depression may prevent a recently divorced individual from conducting a job search.

While the court may not “force” a nonworking spouse to work, a judge may review certain factors to learn how much income he or she could earn. Earning potential may raise or lower the amount of support the court awards.