Limited Duration Alimony (LDA)

In an interesting unreported decision released yesterday in the case of Christopher v. Christopher, the Appellate Division reversed a trial court opinion granting the wife permanent alimony. 

The parties

Continue Reading Appellate Division Finds That 9-Year Marriage Does Not Merit Permanent Alimony – Premarital Cohabitation Counts Toward Length of Marriage

This was a good and bad week for Martin Brodeur, the goalie for the New Jersey Devils.  On a good note, he passed Patrick Roy as the all time winningest goalie in NHL history.  On a bad note, he lost his appeal of an alimony award in the Appellate Division.  To see the opinion, click here. This is the second appeal in this case.  To see the opinion in the first appeal, click here.

This was a 7 1/2 year marriage from the date of marriage until the date of separation.  It was clear that it is was the parties’ intention that the wife would be a full time, stay at home caretaker of the children.

In the first appeal of this case, the Appellate Division affirmed the award of alimony to Melanie Brodeur in the amount of $500,000 per year but reversed the award of permanent alimony.  In this case, the Appellate Division affirmed the award of limited duration alimony until the youngest child graduated from high school.

In the first appeal, the Appellate Division held that:

limited duration alimony is particularly suitable for a situation such as here when the marriage was of short to intermediate duration and the woman is young and has young children. The judge is able to fashion an award that provides financial support to the former wife while she cares for the children.

The Court then addressed the factors that should  be considered in the decision of the length of the term, as follows:

The term should be informed not only by the age of the children, but also by the parties’ decision that plaintiff should be the primary and full-time caretaker of the children.

Continue Reading Another Celebrity Divorce – Hockey Style

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."

Continue Reading Appellate Division Reverses Award of Permanent Alimony Granted in an 11 Year 9 Month Marriage

In an interesting unpublished Appellate Division decision dated May 23, 2008 in the matter of Pechinka v. Pechinka, A-6089-06T3, the court affirmed a trial court decision that denied an ex-husband’s motion to terminate his limited duration alimony. 

At the time of the divorce in 2002, the wife was earning $46,000.  The husband earned $116,000 per year.  They stipulated that there marital lifestyle was $7,000 to $7,500 per month for a family of four  "… in an average month on living expenses." 

In 2006, the wife earned almost $91,000 and with her alimony, she had $6,100 per month in net after tax funds.  This amounts to about 81% to 87% of the joint family net income/lifestyle before the divorce. 

Continue Reading Ex-Wife’s Income Doubles Yet Alimony Remains Unchanged