As part of your divorce agreement, a New Jersey court may have ordered you to pay spousal support. Also known as alimony, you pay this type of support directly to your ex-spouse. It helps him or her maintain a certain standard of living similar to that during the marriage. Generally, you will pay support if you earn more than your ex-spouse. 

Forbes explains that the court will consider all your earnings when calculating spousal support. This could include bonuses and other job perks. While the judge may look at your tax returns, he or she will also look into things that do not show on your taxes but still impact your income. In any case, if the court orders you to pay spousal support, there are some things you can do to minimize the impact it has on your finances. 

1. Use the division of assets to your benefit

You may be able to get a lower support payment by offering up more assets during the property division portion of your divorce. By giving more assets to your ex-spouse, you increase his or her income level. 

2. Remember, you can modify support 

Even if you end up with a large support payment, keep in mind that if your income changes significantly in the future, you can go back to court for a modification. However, your ex-spouse can do this as well, so be careful with modification provisions in your agreement. 

3. Time the divorce right

You should be cautious about when you file for your divorce or when you finalize it. If you have more earnings this year than you will next year, maybe wait to file or take your time to get to the finalization. If you know next year you will earn more, push ahead and try to wrap things up now. 

Spousal support is something that helps make the divorce a fair situation and does not leave one spouse destitute. However, that does not mean your ex-spouse should take you to the cleaners.