Reducing the amount of alimony paid to a former spouse is possible under certain situations. In New Jersey, reduction or termination of alimony can be a complex process, depending upon the circumstances requiring a modification. In order to seek a reduction or termination of alimony payments, it will be your responsibility to convince the court of a substantial change in circumstances, or your former spouse’s, to warrant a modification to the terms of your divorce settlement.
Start by discussing a potential alimony reduction or termination with your former spouse. If you can both agree, the process of obtaining modification is much simpler and quicker. The court will still need to make the change officially, but doing so will be easier and less costly. Circumstances that may allow for an alimony modification include:
- Change in income: Loss of a job or a lower salary may prompt a decision to reduce the amount of alimony you pay, depending upon:
- Whether the job loss was voluntary or involuntary
- The length of time since your job loss or salary reduction
- Proof of salary reduction, if applicable, and overall financial situation
- Your efforts to secure another job with a similar salary
You will need sufficient evidence to prove that you did not leave your job voluntarily or make a lower-paying career change in order to reduce or terminate your alimony payments. The court may consider your situation temporary as you are expected to find employment with a similar salary and must show that you are making a good faith effort in securing one.
- Increase in spouse’s income: If your former spouse obtains employment, receives a significant raise, or accepts a higher-paying job, you may be eligible for an alimony reduction, depending on whether the increased income affects their standard of living. If their standard of living is relatively the same, a reduction may not be granted.
- Development of condition or disability: If you develop a mental or physical health condition, serious illness, or disability that limits your ability to work, or prevents you from working entirely, modifications to the alimony may be granted.
- Retirement: Alimony can generally be modified or terminated once you reach retirement age when you become eligible for full social security benefits. Changes may also be considered if you retire before full retirement age, though you must provide evidence that your retirement was done in good faith and not to specifically reduce alimony payments. You must show:
- If your employer had a differing mandatory retirement age
- Your field of employment and the generally accepted retirement age for that field
- Your motives for retiring
- The age and health status of both you and your former spouse
In most cases, alimony payments are terminated if your former spouse remarries, and in some cases, if they are in a cohabitating relationship.
Seeking modifications to alimony can be complex, based upon current laws and the specifications of your divorce decree, but certain post-divorce life and career changes necessitate modifications that are more appropriate for both individuals involved. If you are seeking changes to alimony payments, consulting an experienced divorce attorney is recommended.
Whitehouse Station Divorce Lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC Represent Clients Seeking Alimony Payment Reductions
If you or your former spouse’s circumstances have changed significantly and you are seeking a reduction or termination of alimony payments, the experienced Whitehouse Station divorce lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC, can help. Call us today at 908-534-9091 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. We serve clients in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and throughout all of New Jersey, including Hunterdon County, Monmouth County, Whitehouse, and Tewskbury.