Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

In My New Jersey Divorce, What Questions Will I Be Asked Regarding Alimony?

Without question, the toughest issue that I confront as a divorce lawyer is alimony. Why? Because there is nobody (and I mean nobody) who does not loathe the idea of paying alimony to their former spouse. I have had many clients say to my fellow associate attorneys and I, “While I have no problem paying child support Mr. Weinstein, can’t anything be done about alimony?” Of course, my reply is contingent upon the facts of the case and the factors under New Jersey’s alimony statute.

Some of the most important factors under our alimony statute (i.e., N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23) include the length of the marriage and the parties ages, respectively. Other factors in a involve large issues such as:

  • The incomes and work history of both parties;
  • The health of both parties;
  • The assets and debts of the marriage.

Many other issues are explored in a alimony case in order to determine the lifestyle of the parties enjoyed during their marriage. A few examples include:

  • Where the parties traditionally went on vacation;
  • What restaurants did they frequent;
  • What type of hobbies and other recreations did the family enjoy;

I have had cases where I asked where did they go food shopping. Do they shop at Target or Walmart? While these type of questions may seems trivial and mundane, they are actually quite relevant when determining the equitable amount of alimony that one spouse shall have to pay to the other so that both may enjoy a lifestyle “similar” (a work I am using loosely) to that which they enjoyed during the marriage.

Following, please find an extremely detailed list of questions that this New Jersey attorney asks in a hotly contested divorce case:

  1. In general, describe your lifestyle during your marriage to ________________, including, without limitation, specific information about the following:

    1. The type of employment positions held by you and your spouse during your marriage, including the length of such employment, the amount of income and other benefits and perquisites earned during such employment and the reason for any changes in such employment;

    2. The type, amount, source and frequency of all other of income, earned and unearned, and monies received or acquired during your marriage from any source, including but not limited to interest, dividends, investments, gifts, inheritances, loan payments, business earnings, grants, insurance benefits, government benefits, etc.;

    3. The type, value and source of all assets received or acquired by you or your spouse during your marriage from any source, including specific information about the disposition of those assets, if they are no longer owned;

    4. The type, value and source of all debts and liabilities incurred or owed by you and your spouse during your marriage to any third party, including specific information about the means of satisfaction of those debts and liabilities, if they are no longer owed;

    5. The number and types of residences you and your spouse lived in during your marriage, whether as a primary residence or a vacation home, and including whether those properties were leased or owned, and if owned, the source of the down payment for such property and the means of payment of the balance of the purchase price, including the source of funds for all mortgage payments, if any, and including specific information about the frequency and types of all repairs, maintenance and improvements to such properties, if any, and the source of funds for payment of same;

    6. The year, make and model of all vehicles (including automobiles, boats, recreational vehicles, etc that you and/or your spouse used during your marriage, and including whether those vehicles were owned, leased or provided through your or your spouses’ business or employment, how those vehicles were paid for and how frequently they were replaced;

    7. The approximate number of times each week that you dined at restaurants, including the types of restaurants and whether you dined alone, with your spouse or with others, whether such dining was for business or pleasure, and the means of payment for such dining;

    8. The types and frequency of vacations and trips that you took, alone or with your spouse during your marriage, including the places traveled to, the means of travel, the type of lodging and dining accommodations, forms of entertainment, whether such trips were for business or pleasure, the means of payment for such trips and whether for any such trips you were accompanied by others;

    9. The types and frequency of day, weekend or other short term trips that you took, alone or with your spouse during your marriage, and including the places traveled to, the means of travel, the type of lodging and dining accommodations, forms of entertainment, whether such trips were for business or pleasure, means of payment and whether for any such trips you were accompanied by others;

    10. The types and frequency of parties and other entertainment gatherings that you hosted in your home or at outside locations, alone or with your spouse during your marriage, and reason for and style of the gatherings, whether such gatherings were for business or pleasure and the means of payment of such gatherings;

    11. The types and frequency of other entertainment (including but not limited to sporting events, movies, shows, plays, theme parks, museums, computer games, etc that you sought, alone or with your spouse during your marriage, and including means of payment, whether such entertainment was for business or pleasure, and whether for any such entertainment you were accompanied by others;

    12. The types of hobbies you or your spouse enjoyed, including the frequency and approximate cost of those hobbies and how they were paid for;

    13. If you or your spouse attended any post-secondary education institution or took any continuing education classes, programs or lessons during the marriage, specify the type, the number of years of such enrollment, whether for business or personal reasons, the cost of tuition and all related fees, the means of payment of same, including whether any such costs were reimbursed or paid for by any source other than your or your spouse’s funds;

    14. If you or your spouse were a member of any club or organization during your marriage, specify the type, the number of years of such membership, whether for business or personal reasons, the cost of enrollment and all related fees, the means of payment of same, including whether any such costs were reimbursed or paid for by any source other than your or your spouse’s funds;

    15. Specify whether your children have attended private schools and, if so, the number of years, the cost of tuition and all related fees and the means of payment of such schools;

    16. Specify whether your children participate in any sports, hobbies, lessons, camps or other extra-curricular activities and, if so, the number of years, the cost of enrollment and all related fees and the means of payment of activities;

    17. The types of stores you shopped at for food, clothing, and all other personal items, whether, alone or with your spouse during your marriage, including the frequency of such shopping, and in general, the types of items purchased, for example whether they were name brand or generic items, whether they were retail or sale items, how often any such non-perishable items were replaced and how they were paid for;

    18. The type of furniture and furnishings that you and/or your spouse acquired during your marriage and including the source of funds and means of payment and the frequency of replacement of such items;

    19. The number and type of collectibles that you and/or your spouse acquired during your marriage and including the source of funds and means of payment for such items;

    20. The approximate percentage of income which you and your spouse designated for savings and investment during your marriage, and including the frequency and types of savings and investments allocations made and if those funds were later withdrawn or used, the reason for same;

    21. The extent to which you and your spouse during your marriage relied on funds other than your earned income, (which shall be deemed to include but not be limited to, gifts, inheritances, loans, asset depletion, credit card debt, etc, to meet your monthly budget obligations or to otherwise sustain your accustomed marital lifestyle;

    22. The approximate percentage of income which you and your spouse used for gifts to each other or to third parties for holidays and other occasions and the approximate percentage of income which you and your spouse used for other charitable contributions and donations;

    23. Specify whether during your marriage you hired third parties to assist with the household duties such as a house-keeper, landscaper, babysitter, handy-person, etc., and if so, the frequency of such services and the means for payment of such services.


  2. Describe, in general terms, your lifestyle prior to your marriage to your spouse, including, but not limited to, your assets, liabilities, income and regular monthly budget expenses.

  3. Describe, in general terms, the progression/decline in your marital lifestyle in the period of time from the date of your marriage to your spouse to the present, including but not limited to the increase/decrease in your assets, liabilities, income and regular monthly budget expenses during that time period.

  4. If you and your spouse have separated, in addition to the above, specifically describe the progression/decline in your lifestyle as of the date of your separation from your spouse, as compared to your average marital lifestyle and also as compared to your present, post-­separation lifestyle, including but not limited to the increase/decrease in your assets, liabilities, income and regular budget expenses in those periods.

  5. If you and your spouse have separated, in addition to the above, specifically describe the progression/decline in your spouse’s lifestyle as of the date of your separation, as compared to your average marital lifestyle and also as compared to your present, post-separation lifestyle, including but not limited to the increase/decrease in your spouse’s assets, liabilities, income and regular budget expenses in those periods.

  6. To the extent possible, specifically identify the reasons for any significant increases or decreases in your marital lifestyle during the course of your marriage, including but not limited to, cost of living changes, birth of child, marital separations, job promotion/loss/change, accidents or injuries, illnesses or disabilities, behavioral problems or issues, relocations, inheritance, successful or failed investments, progressive savings and investment, over­spending/indebtedness/bankruptcy, etc. the date of the change, whether it was long term or temporary and whether you or your spouse caused such changes.

  7. To the extent possible, specifically describe your best approximation of your marital lifestyle in numerical terms using each of the categories of items identified in Part C (Income Information), Part D (Monthly Expenses) and Part E (Balance Sheet of all Family Assets and Liabilities) of the Family Part Case Information Statement (R.5:5-2)