Limited Duration Alimony As Opposed To Permanent Alimony For Intermediate Length Marriages

Has your marriage been one of intermediate duration? Are you wondering whether you will either have to pay or receive alimony for a defined term or whether the alimony will be permanent in nature?

In the unpublished opinion of Valente v. Valente, 2009 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 331, the parties were married for just short of twelve (12) years and had three children. The husband was the sole financial provider for the family, while the wife cared for the children and the home. The wife had a high school degree and earned $24,000 in the retail industry prior to the birth of the parties’ first child. The wife was 40 years old and the husband was 42 years old. The trial judge awarded the wife permanent alimony in the amount of $10,000 per month. The husband challenged the permanency of the alimony award on appeal.

The Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision and held that limited duration alimony was more appropriate under the circumstances. Specifically, the Court noted the intermediate length of the marriage (11 years, 9 months). The Court further explained that due to the wife’s “age and intelligence . . . 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.” Id.