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It is clear from Lepis and its progeny that
motion courts have found that the marital standard of living is an essential component in the
changed-circumstances analysis when reviewing
an application for modification of alimony. Id.,
at 152-53; see also Innes v. Innes, 117 N.J. 496,
504 (1990) (suggesting that when motion court
reviews alimony award, reference to a number
of factors assists in determination of whether
former marital standard of living is being
maintained); Carter v. Carter, 318 N.J.Super. 34,
43 (App.Div.1999) (finding that motion court is
at disadvantage when reviewing modification
motion because trial court failed to “relate [the
supporting spouse’s] rehabilitative alimony obligation to the standard of living of the parties or,
more particularly, [the dependent spouse’s] standard of living during the marriage”); Guglielmo

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v. Guglielmo, 253 N.J.Super. 531, 542-44 (App.
Div.1992) (finding that supporting spouse has
not fulfilled his continuing obligation to support
dependent spouse at former standard of living).19
This view would be reinforced—and even strengthened—a few years later, with Weishaus v. Weishaus.20 In
Weishaus, the Supreme Court announced:
In Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139, 416 A.2d
45 (1980), we established the principle, reaffirmed in Crews, supra that the “goal of a proper
alimony award is to assist the supported spouse
in achieving a lifestyle that is reasonably comparable to the one enjoyed while living with the
supporting spouse during the marriage.”21
A review of these two opinions leads the reader to two
conclusions: 1) somehow, factor four seems to have been
given greater weight than the other alimony factors; and
2) only the supported spouse’s standard of living was relevant, not the standard of living of the supporting spouse.
In creating the new alimony bill, there was a specific
intention to emphasize that, in establishing an appropriate alimony award, the ability of both parties to enjoy a

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reasonably comparable standard of living must be considered. This is clear not only from the specific change to
factor 4—in which the clause, “with neither party having
a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the
other” was added—but also with the addition of the
following three provisions to the statute:
“In each case where the court is asked
to make an award of alimony, the court shall
consider and assess evidence with respect to all
relevant statutory factors. If the court determines
that certain factors are more or less relevant than
others, the court shall make specific writing findings
of fact and conclusions of law on the reasons why
the court reached that conclusion. No factor shall be
elevated in importance over any other factor unless
the court finds otherwise, in which case the court shall
make specific written findings of fact and conclusions
of law in that regard.”22 (emphasis added)
“In any case in which there is a request for
an award of alimony, the court shall consider
and make specific findings on the evidence
about all of the statutory factors set forth in subsection b. of this section.”23 (emphasis added)
“…In addition to those factors, the court
shall also consider the practical impact of the parties’
need for separate residences and the attendant
increase in living expenses on the ability of both
parties to maintain a standard of living reasonably
comparable to the standard of living established in
the marriage or civil union, to which both parties are
entitled, with neither party having a greater entitlement thereto.24 (emphasis added)
Another important change to the factors was the
addition of a new factor 13. There had never been a clear
determination of whether the length of time a supporting
spouse paid support pendente lite should or should not
be considered in making a final alimony award. In some
counties, where a matter could be pending for years, the
term of pendente lite support could be lengthy. Consequently, a new factor was added, specifically stating that a
court should consider the “nature, amount, and length of
pendente lite support paid, if any;” when establishing the
appropriate length of alimony.
Section c of N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23 has a number of
momentous changes to the statute.
At the outset, the prior statute had provided, in
essence, a presumption in favor of permanent alimony.
More specifically, the prior statute had provided that