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Divorce Does Not Always Result In What You Expect

Divorce Does Not Always Result In What You Expect

In a divorce case in which the Husband,a contractor with the ability to receive his income in cash, the Judge found him to be untruthful about his earnings and the defendant Husband was ordered to pay the wife $500 per week in alimony and an additional $217 per week in child support for 2 children as well as the wife’s counsel fees of $15,782.45. The parties were married for 19 years and the Morris County Superior Court Judge hearing the matter found it to be a permanent alimony case. In Gentile v. Gentile, the husband appealed the decision on the basis that the wife should have been imputed income in excess of $21,000 and permanent alimony should not have been awarded. Throughout the last 5 years of the marriage the husband earned an average of $90,000 per year but cited the economic downturn as a reason for lack of work around the time of the parties’ divorce. The wife worked only part-time and sporadically during the marriage. The judge found both underemployed and imputed income of $100,000 to the husband and $20,800 to the wife. The judge specifically found the husband was intentionally underemployed at the end of the marriage to avoid child support and alimony obligations. The husband reported expenses of $3,405 per month, including rent to his brother, and the judge decided the husband’s expenses were actually $2,000 per month. The court relied on the husband to show the wife could not earn more than $20,800 per year, rather than relying on the wife to show that was all she could earn. The judge used the factors in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b) in determining that alimony should be permanent. The only asset for equitable distribution was the husband’s annuity worth $106,733. Once the Judge divided the annuity in half and ordered the Husband to pay tax preparation fees, his share of the children’s dental expenses, the Wife’s share of a tax refund for 2 years, reimbursement to Wife for money he withdrew from the annuity, child support arrears and the Wife’s counsel fees the Husband received nothing from his own annuity. The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed. If you are considering a divorce, it is important to understand what is involved and the likely outcome in your matter. You should always consult with an experienced family law attorney when considering divorce to ensure you know your options and your rights are protected. For more information about alimony, child support, custody, visitation, post-judgment modification or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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