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Rudnitsky v. Rudnitsky

March 4, 2010

ROBIN RUDNITSKY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT/ CROSS-RESPONDENT,
v.
GARY RUDNITSKY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT/CROSS-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, Docket No. FM-07-1549-07.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued February 3, 2010

Before Judges Axelrad, Fisher and Espinosa.

In this matrimonial appeal, we examine a number of determinations made by the Family Part judge at the conclusion of an eight-day trial. We affirm in part, modify in part, and remand for the entry of an amended judgment.

The record reveals that plaintiff Robin Rudnitsky and defendant Gary Rudnitsky were married in 1987. At the time of the marriage, Robin was thirty years old. She had previously earned a bachelor's degree in business and communications, and was employed as a commercial leasing broker. Gary, at the time of the marriage, was twenty-five years old. He had previously completed dental school, and worked as a cosmetic dentist. Prior to the birth of their first child in 1991, Robin left the workforce; their second child was born in 1993. Robin remained primarily responsible for the children's care during the remainder of the marriage.*fn1

In her appeal, Robin argues that the judge erred: in fixing the amount of alimony; in suggesting that Gary's contributions toward the children's Bar and Bat Mitzvahs could be considered in the future when allocating college costs; in determining that Gary's retirement would constitute a changed circumstance that would terminate alimony; and in finding that Gary's interest in Sedana Realty LLC (Sedana), was a passive immune asset. She also argues that, should there be a remand, another judge should be assigned to the matter. In his cross-appeal, Gary argues that the judge erred in disposing of the parties' claims for counsel fees.

I. ALIMONY

Alimony is "an economic right that arises out of the marital relationship." Mani v. Mani, 183 N.J. 70, 80 (2005). When sought, the judge must consider the following factors:

(1) The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;

(2) The duration of the marriage or civil union;

(3) The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;

(4) The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living;

(5) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;

(6) The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;

(7) The parental responsibilities for the children;

(8) The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;

(9) The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;

(10) The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this ...


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