Recent amendments to New Jersey’s alimony statute are generally viewed as favorable to the supporting spouse. Their effect, however, may be just the opposite. Statutory language adopted in September 2014 requires consideration of 14 factors when establishing the amount and duration of alimony.

Under factor (4), the court must take into account “[t]he standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other[.]” N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b)(4) (emphasis added). Further, the statute requires the court to consider “the practical impact of the parties’ need for separate residences and the attendant increase in living expenses on the ability of both parties to maintain a standard of living reasonably comparable to the standard of living established in the marriage or civil union, to which both parties are entitled, with neither party having a greater entitlement thereto.” N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(c) (emphasis added). As noted by Frank A. Louis, Esq., in his article “Comparability of the Standard of Living,” which was disseminated at the 2018 Family Law Symposium, placing the second directive in the postscript to the statutory factors rather than merely within them likely elevates its importance. See Landers v. Landers, 444 N.J. Super. 315, 324 (App. Div. 2016) (setting a consideration apart from the statutory factors and requiring its explicit analysis “elevates” its importance).

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