On January 27, 2009, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an Opinion in the case of Valente v. Valente which shed light on whether alimony should be permanent or of limited duration in an "intermediate length marriage" of 11+ years. The Court concluded that given the duration of the marriage, the ages of the parties (42) and other factors prescribed by the statute, an award of permanent alimony was not warranted.
The case is important to divorcing parties because distinguishing between permanent and limited duration alimony is often unclear in mid-length marriages. The ruling provides guidance with respect to a marriage in excess of ten years being considered of "intermediate length", as opposed to what some attorneys and judges have considered to be of sufficient length to warrant permanent alimony. The legal standards are further complicated by the alimony statute which requires judges to specifically find why permanent alimony is not appropriate before awarding another available type, such as rehabilitative or limited duration alimony.
It is important for divorcing parties to be knowledgeable through their attorneys regarding such issues before making important decisions which will impact their economic futures.