If financial circumstances change for you or your ex-spouse, either of you may request a modification of your spousal support order from the court. For example, if you are receiving alimony and you become unable to maintain the standard of living you were meant to have when the judgment was awarded, you may ask for an increase. However, if your financial situation has greatly improved, your spouse may ask the court for a decrease or termination of alimony payments.
Change of Circumstances
New Jersey courts have accepted the following changed circumstances as satisfactory reasons to re-examine an alimony judgment:
- Cost of living increase,
- Retirement ,
- The onset of an illness, disability or infirmity,
- Income reduction or unemployment by either party,
- Increased income by the party receiving alimony,
- Substantial inheritance received by the party receiving alimony,
- The party receiving alimony loses an apartment or house, or
- The party receiving spousal support enters a “marriage-like” relationship with a member of the opposite sex and begins living with that individual.
When you request a modification, the court requires that you prove the alleged changed circumstances.
Burden of Proof
Lepis v. Lepis is a 1980 NJ Supreme Court case that set the standard for alimony judgment modification. If you are requesting an alimony modification, you must demonstrate to the court how the change of circumstances has “substantially impaired your ability to support yourself.”
Permanent spousal support may become a thing of the past in New Jersey. Currently, there is proposed legislation, through bills A3909 and S2750, which would not only do away with lifetime alimony, but would also set new limits on the amounts awarded and the duration of the payments. If this law passes, it will also affect some modification standards by allowing ex-spouses to ask the court to modify alimony judgments awarded before enactment of the new law.
Contact Castronovo & McKinney in Morristown, NJ at (973) 920-7888 or online if you are need of an alimony judgment modification. Our experienced Family & Divorce Law Attorneys can review your circumstances and advise you of the options available for your situation.