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Cox v. Cox

Superior Court of New Jersey
762 A.2d 1040 (2000)


Margaret Cox (plaintiff) married Harry Cox (defendant) in 1977. The couple enjoyed a nice standard of living, in part due to Harry’s employment as a crane operator, which yielded a yearly salary of $120,000. The couple had one child, Heather. Margaret was a stay-at-home mom until Heather reached the first grade, at which time Margaret began working part-time. In 1989, Margaret went back to school and earned her undergraduate degree. The couple separated in 1996. By 1998, Margaret had earned a law degree. Margaret’s legal education placed her $100,000 in debt, and she did not pass the bar on her first attempt. However, Margaret served as a judicial law clerk for one year and earned a salary of $30,000. Margaret did not live in the marital home, but rather rented an apartment that was closer to work. The trial judge found that Margaret and Harry had a long-term marriage and recognized the disproportion between Margaret’s and Harry’s incomes. The trial judge ordered Harry to pay Margaret $200 per week for five years in limited-duration alimony, which is alimony that is ordered for a limited period of time, typically for a certain number of years, and awarded to a supported spouse who had a short-term marriage. The trial judge wanted to give Margaret time to begin her career as an attorney. The trial judge also required that the couple reappear in two years to reevaluate the need for Margaret’s award. Margaret appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Carchman, J.)

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