Disabled Spouse and Child or Spousal Support

Each divorce or family law case has its own unique problems and issues. In many cases, these unusual issues will take the form of financial matters. Where a divorce involves child support, it is almost certain that an award of support will be made to the custodial parent. In cases involving a request for spousal support, such an award is much less certain. In either case, parties often want to know how much he or she will have to pay or how much he or she is likely to receive. In cases involving disabled spouses, the issue of support takes on new complications.

Spousal support in New Jersey is calculated using a number of factors. The law also drastically changed in 2014, placing new restrictions on the length of time a spouse could request alimony be paid, depending on the length of the parties’ marriage. Although there are a variety of factors, the initial inquiries for an award are typically what does the requesting spouse need, and how much could the paying spouse afford to pay. Even if the requesting spouse is disabled, it is not a foregone conclusion that he or she needs spousal support in order to support him or herself following the divorce. As in any other divorce case, the court will examine whether the disabled spouse has the ability to generate income and the amount of other assets he or she may have to help provide for him or her. The court will consider social security income when making these determinations, as well as any type of settlement awarded to the disabled spouse, if applicable.

Child support has a different set of complications. If the disabled spouse is receiving social security income, it is possible, but not certain, that this income will be considered “income” for purposes of the child support calculation. The court must first determine if the disabled spouse is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments or Social Security Disability (SSD) payments. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are not considered income for purposes of child support calculation. However, Social Security Disability (SSD) payments are income, as these payments are meant to take the place of the income the spouse would have been generating but for the disability.

Every divorce is different and has its own problems, and divorcing a spouse who has a disability is no exception. We have helped many clients with these types of issues. Call us today at (732) 529-6937 to talk about your case.
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