3 year marriage could warrant open durational (long term) alimony!

In Friel v. Braun-Friel, a recent unpublished decision of the Appellate Division (March 2, 2018), the Appellate Court remanded the matter back to the trial court for a review of the prior decision.

The parties in this case were separated after less than 3 years of marriage. The primary issue was alimony because the Defendant became disabled just after the parties’ marriage and was unable to return to work, rendering her medically and financially dependent upon Plaintiff.

The alimony statute (NJSA 2A:34-23) states that absent exceptional circumstances, an alimony term should not exceed the length of the marriage.

Here, the trial court found that there were exceptional circumstances but ordered only 2 years of alimony at $130/week. The appellate division determined that despite finding exceptional circumstances, the trial court failed to explain why it limited alimony to only 2 years. The appellate division also determined that the trial court should not have considered Defendant’s receipt of SSDI benefits when she had not been approved for same at the time of trial.

This appellate decision reiterates the need for trial courts to give comprehensive and thoughtful decisions supporting their rulings.

Have you had a case where the contested ruling was not supported by a detailed and thoughtful decision? There’s a limited time for reconsideration or appeal of an Order or Judgment. Contact Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC now to set up a case assessment to consult with our attorneys about the possible remedies you may have.

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