Whether you have been ordered to pay alimony or are receiving alimony, knowing the laws related to modification is important. Our lawyers can help.
As part of a divorce settlement, a judge may issue an order for spousal support, more commonly called alimony. Once a judgment has been issued, it is legally binding, which means that the party who is ordered to pay alimony is bound to that court-order; failure to make payments in accordance with the order can result in serious consequences.
However, there are times when an alimony order no longer makes sense. If this is the case, modifying a court order may be possible. Here is what you need to know about modifying an alimony order in NJ.
When can I Seek Modification of an Alimony Order in NJ?
If both parties agree to a modification, then a divorce modification order is easy. All parties will need to do is put their agreement in writing and then submit it to the family law judge to sign off on. If modification is not agreed upon, then the party seeking modification will need to have grounds for modification. Modification may be sought when there is a significant change in circumstances. Examples of significant changes in circumstances include:
- One spouse remarrying;
- The payment-making spouse suffering a disability that leaves them unable to work;
- The payment-receiving spouse moving in with a new partner;
- The payment-receiving spouse receiving a significant raise or promotion at work; or
- The payment-making spouse suffering a large financial change.
Is it Difficult to Modify Alimony Payments in NJ?
If your former spouse does not agree to a reduction in alimony, then yes — reducing or increasing your alimony order can be difficult. You will need to provide proof that because of your change in circumstances, there is a strong justification and need for the modification. It is best if you and your ex-spouse can come to an agreement about the alimony payments on your own through mediation. If you cannot, then bringing your case to court will be required—a process that is time-consuming and expensive.
How a Skilled NJ Family Law Attorney Can Help
If you want to modify your spousal support order, one of the first things that you should do is consult with an attorney. No matter what, do not change your payment schedule or make smaller payments just because you feel like that is what is fair—if you breach your court order, there can be consequences. Instead, call an attorney and explain your situation. An attorney can help you to understand grounds for modifying an alimony order, as well as what types of evidence you will need to support your case.