Domestic violence is something that affects an unfortunately high number of individuals in New Jersey and across the United States. As such, those who have been able to get divorced from their abuser likely have many questions. This includes whether or not they must pay alimony to the individual who abused them. If this represents your circumstances, you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll discover the factors that influence spousal support awards, how domestic violence impacts alimony, and how New Jersey divorce attorneys can assist you during these complex and worrisome times.
What Do the Courts Consider When Awarding Alimony During a Divorce?
When a couple divorces, alimony payments are not automatically given to the spouse who earns less. The recipient spouse must request alimony through the courts. Additionally, this is not automatically granted upon request, as the courts will consider several factors when making a decision. In New Jersey, this includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- The length of the marriage
- The age of each party
- The health of each party
- Whether or not the recipient spouse sacrificed their career to support the other
- The financial and domestic contributions of each partner
How Does Domestic Violence Impact Alimony Payments?
It’s important to note that New Jersey law will heavily consider the presence of domestic violence when determining an alimony decision.
The law states that judges who are presented with a case involving someone who has committed egregious acts of violence like homicide or assault that occur during the marriage or result in serious bodily harm are given leniency on denying the convicted perpetrator alimony from their spouse. The statute specifically states it should not be strictly interpreted and may include other acts of violence to give the courts the ability to make decisions in the best interest of victims.
In addition, the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act gives the courts the right to deny a divorce settlement introduced by the abuser that awards them alimony from their victim. This is because the courts believe that an abuser collecting alimony from their victim is an extension of abuse and control over them.
Regardless, it is imperative to ensure you connect with an experienced attorney if you have experienced domestic violence at the hands of your spouse and you are worried about whether or not you will be court-ordered to make spousal support payments. Having legal representation ensures that you have someone familiar with the law to fight for your rights.
At Haber Silver Rusoniello & Dunn, we understand how challenging these issues can be for victims of domestic violence. Not only are you healing from the impacts of abuse, but dealing with the legal complexities of this matter can create additional stress. That’s why we’re proud to represent those in these situations, as we will help you navigate the justice system so you can focus on the next chapter of your life. Contact our competent and compassionate firm today to learn how we can assist you during these challenging times.