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Wife's Alimony Award Reversed

The Appellate Division's decision in Clark v. Clark (approved for publication October 19, 2012), reversed a $600 per week alimony award to the Wife.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in Mani v. Mani, 183 N.J. 70 (2005) that marital fault is irrelevant when deciding alimony awards. However, the Court carved out two exceptions to this general rule. One of which is applicable in Clark, one of which deals with the conduct of the party seeking alimony. The Court held when "egregious conduct occurs, it may be considered by the court, not in calculating an alimony award, but in the initial determination of whether alimony should be allowed at all."

In Clark, the Wife served as a bookkeeper to the joint marital business. Over time, she embezzled $345,000 from the marital business without the Husband's knowledge. The Appellate Division found this to be the "egregious conduct" necessary to deny a party's claim for alimony. The matter was then remanded to the lower court for further consideration. Part of which could quite possibly be the reimbursement of any alimony received by the Wife. 

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