Can Alimony Be a One-Time Payment in New Jersey?

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One of the most contentious areas of divorce revolves around alimony payments. The spouse who must pay generally thinks their spouse is asking for too much, while the recipient thinks it’s not enough. As such, the courts will often step in to determine how much alimony the recipient is entitled to. One thing many are unsure of is whether alimony can be a one-time payment. The following blog explores how the courts will come to this decision if a lump-sum payment is possible, and why you need New Jersey alimony attorneys to help you through these complex times.

How Do the Courts Determine Spousal Support Payments?

When a couple cannot agree on alimony, the courts will consider several elements to determine whether or not the recipient spouse needs these payments, and if so, how much money they will receive and the duration of payments. It’s important to note that a spouse must request alimony during the divorce – it is not automatically awarded to the lower-earning spouse.

Generally, the courts will take the following factors into consideration:

  • The income of each spouse
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • If one spouse put their career on hold (becoming a stay-at-home parent)
  • The domestic and financial contributions of each spouse
  • The current job market if one spouse is not working
  • If any education or training is necessary for the recipient spouse to start working
  • The duration of the marriage

It’s important to note that the judge will also order alimony for a predetermined period. This is generally until the recipient spouse can become financially independent without the support of the other.

Can the Paying Spouse Make Alimony a One-Time Payment?

When alimony is ordered, it’s necessary to understand that the courts cannot order a one-time payment. However, if the couple agrees to this, it can be enforced. Additionally, if a spouse is behind on alimony payments, the amount they owe is referred to as “arrears.” If this is the case, the court can order this to be paid in a lump sum without both parties agreeing.

It’s important to understand that there are pros and cons to accepting a one-time alimony payment instead of monthly installments. When you and your spouse agree to a lump sum, you don’t have to worry about late or missing payments. Additionally, it can offer protection if your spouse loses their job, as they can file a motion to reduce or eliminate monthly alimony payments in the event of job loss.

However, on the other side, you may find that if your spouse receives a raise at work, you can petition the courts to increase their alimony payments. As such, you may lose out on funds by receiving the alimony upfront.

As there are many considerations to be made regarding these matters, it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney to discuss your options. At Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn, we understand how overwhelming the facets of divorce can be, which is why we’re dedicated to helping you through these matters. Connect with our team today to discuss your concerns and learn how we can help you.