Alimony Decisions

Here you will find decisions concerning alimony.

  • For How Long Does One Pay or Receive Alimony? Under our New Jersey statute, if a marriage is less than 20 years, the duration of Alimony is limited to the length of the marriage, unless there are "exceptional circumstances." What are exceptional circumstances? Our Appellate Court has held that a relationship prior to marriage alone is not an exceptional circumstance that warrants an extension of the duration of alimony. However, where a Wife took on the majority of caretaking responsibilities for the parties' disabled child, which inhibited her ability to obtain employment after the marriage, the Appellate Court has agreed that exceptional circumstances existed.

  • This is an unpublished case that has been issued by the Appellate division: In Tominus v. Tominus, our Appellate Court distinguished and limited the Gnall case, which held that a 15 year marriage warranted an award of permanent alimony. This Court awarded 8 years of alimony on a 14 year marriage. The Court stated:

However, for purposes of determining whether limited duration or permanent alimony is warranted, there is no bright line between long-term and short-term marriages. See Gordon v. Rozenwald, 380 N.J. Super. 55, 75 n. 4 (App. Div. 2005). In Gnall v. Gnall, N.J. Super. , ____ (App. Div. 2013) (slip op. at 27), we held that a fifteen-year marriage was not short-term and therefore limited duration alimony could not be awarded.

However, in Gnall, we stated that we did not intend to draw a specific line between marriages that are short-term and long- term "in an effort to define those cases warranting only limited duration rather than permanent alimony." Ibid. (slip op. at 27). Moreover, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(f) provides that nothing in that statute shall be construed as limiting "the court's authority to award permanent alimony, limited duration alimony, rehabilitative alimony or reimbursement alimony, separately or in any combination, as warranted by the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case." Ibid. (emphasis added).

Here, the judge provided ample support for her conclusion that permanent alimony was not warranted based on the particular facts and circumstances of this case. As the judge pointed out in her decision, the parties had a modest standard of living during the marriage which was largely subsidized by others, including plaintiff's father. Plaintiff was the primary wage earner, but defendant also worked during the marriage. The parties have comparable educational backgrounds and vocational skills. Furthermore, defendant did not forgo any employment opportunities during the marriage, and she was capable of working, despite her claim to the contrary. The record therefore supports the judge's conclusion that defendant will be capable of earning sufficient monies to maintain a lifestyle comparable to the lifestyle the parties maintained during the marriage. In the interim, an award of limited duration alimony is warranted.