Savings Component of Alimony
The recent case of Lombardi v. Lombardi deals with a wealthy couple’s divorce, specifically the payment of alimony. This case is unique because the couple spent their marriage saving the vast majority of their sizeable income, and prudently saving the rest.
The Lombardi’s divorced after 20 years of marriage and three children. Mr. Lombardi brought in a sizeable income in the financial sector while Mrs. Lombardi left a high paying job when her first child was born. The Lombardi’s savings averaged a sizeable $67,000 per month, and despite average earnings in excess of $1 million, the couple lived modestly in favor of saving over spending.
When they divorced, Mrs. Lombardi received alimony to cover her monthly expenses, but did not receive a savings component to the alimony. The divorce settlement also awarded her a large sum of money and she continued to live in the marital home, which was owned outright at the time the final judgment of divorce was entered.Established New Jersey Law - Savings Included in Alimony to Protect Supported Spouse
Established New Jersey law says that an accumulation of “reasonable savings” should be included in alimony, in order to protect the supported spouse against the loss of alimony. The court wants the supported spouse to be protected in the event that the alimony ends or is reduced at some point in the future. In this case, Mrs. Lombardi requested a savings component to the alimony award, in addition to covering her living expenses. However, the trial court found that since Mrs. Lombardi’s alimony was not at risk due to her sizeable divorce judgment, a savings component should not be added to the alimony order.
The question presented to the court in the Lombardi appeal was whether the parties' history of regular savings as part of their marital lifestyle required including savings as a component of alimony, even when the need to protect the supported spouse does not exist.The Goal of Alimony in New Jersey
The goal of alimony is to assist the supported spouse in achieving a lifestyle reasonably comparable to the one enjoyed during the marriage. Certainly the Lombardi’s history of savings was clearly shown through the evidence presented at the trial, including expert testimony from a forensic accountant. The court found that their savings was a part of their lifestyle during the marriage.The Holding of Lombardi and Alimony in NJ
The court concluded that it must consider evidence of regular savings by the parties during the marriage in determining an alimony award, even if there is no concern of protecting a future alimony award.
Peter Van Aulen has over 24 years of experience in divorce and family law. He is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Attorney. This is an honor given to a small number of attorneys in New Jersey. For any questions you might have regarding divorce or the payment of alimony in NJ, please call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at 201-845-7400 for a free initial consultation.Source
Lombardi v. Lombardi, No. A-3624-13T1