In an interesting unreported decision in the matter of Valente v. Valente, on January 27, 2009, the Appellate Division reversed the award of permanent alimony to the wife after an 11 year 9 month marriage. To view the full text of the case, click here.
The relevant facts are as follows: During this 11 3/4 year marriage, the court deemed that the marriage was "traditional" in that the husband was the sole income earner while the wife was the homemaker and caretaker of the three children. The husband was a successful businessman who owned fifty percent of an insurance agency. He earned an average of $323,000 over three years prior to the filing of the complaint not including perquisites addressed brief in the opinion. The wife had a high school degree and worked in the clothing industry after high school until just before the birth of her first child, earning about $24,000 per year.
In reversing the aware of permanent alimony, the Appellate Division held:
"In our view, alimony of limited duration is appropriate in this case. The marriage of eleven years and nine months was of intermediate length. Considering plaintiff’s age and intelligence as well as the fact that her children are both of school age, we see no reason why she cannot obtain employment within a reasonable time, and an award of limited duration alimony will give her incentive to do so. Moreover, at the end of a limited alimony term, plaintiff may seek permanent alimony or an extension of limited alimony if her earnings are insufficient to maintain her lifestyle without alimony."