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  • Writer's pictureJudge Michael Donio

Ask the Judge: Is alimony only for women?

Is alimony only for women? My soon-to-be ex-wife makes three times more than I do.

She says that I will have to pay her. How is that fair?

In a nutshell, alimony is not only for women.

Your soon-to-be ex-wife may think she is a lawyer by saying you will have to pay her, but I doubt that will happen. The income of the parties, education of the parties, standard of living of the parties and things of that nature all go into the equation of alimony. What is very important is the extent and the length of the marriage.

For instance, if someone was a homemaker and stayed home to take care of the kids and did not further their education while the other one went to school and then became a successful professional, then, upon the divorce, the professional would pay a substantial sum of money in alimony. The fact that it is a woman and not a man is of no importance.

Your soon-to-be ex-wife may be in for a rude awakening once she consults with her divorce lawyer.

Good luck with your divorce.

How do lawyers learn about new laws?

Do you have continuing education and classes like other professionals?

Your question is a timely question.

Yes, there are requirements that lawyers—and, for that matter, judges—must take 12 hours of classes a year to keep up with changes in the law and the like.

Every November, the judges usually all traveled to Newark, N.J. to attend two-and-a-half days of classes and other lectures. You would get a certain number of credits for the classes that you attended. We call that Judicial College.

During 2020, and again in 2021, the Judicial College was held virtually. Last year it was done for the first time virtually, and it worked out fine. You signed up for the classes you wished to attend, and you were able to log in to each class as it was presented. This was something that takes place for the judges every year.

The same is true with lawyers: they are required to attend 12 hours of instruction a year; if they do not do so, they can, in fact, have their license suspended after they are given a short period of time to catch up if necessary.

The laws are changing throughout the country on a regular basis. Continuing education is something that will always be required of judges and lawyers in the state of New Jersey for the foreseeable future.

Judge Michael Donio served as a New Jersey State Superior Court Judge for 20 years before retiring on July 31, 2015. He now operates a legal consulting and mediation firm on the White Horse Pike. Donio can be reached by calling (609) 481-2919. Send your questions for his columns to


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