Bergen County Alimony Attorneys
Modification of Alimony in NJ
If your situation has changed significantly since your alimony order was first made and you are finding it difficult to maintain your spousal support payments, you may be able to obtain a modification of and reduction of your alimony order by the court. A Bergen County alimony attorney from our firm can petition a judge to recognize your difficulty in paying and reduce your ordered amount.
As members of the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators with more than 60 years of collective legal experience, Sherwood & Johnson, LLC, understand just how the divorce process works in New Jersey and can make the difference for your case.
We are a highly-reputable firm focusing exclusively on helping individuals and families work through the divorce process, so reach out to us today for seasoned advice.
Proving Your Alimony Case Before the Judge
If you desire to modify your court order, the burden is on you to show your situation has changed to one which makes paying alimony too much of financial burden. Even if your former spouse agrees to the modification, you should get a judge to sign off on a modification.
Events which constitute a change in your circumstances include:
- Increased cost of living
- Change in supporting spouse’s income
- Illness, disability, or infirmity which arises after original order was made
- Dependent spouse’s loss of a home or apartment
- Dependent spouse’s cohabitation with another
- Subsequent employment by the dependent spouse
Divorce agreements can contain modification clauses should one become necessary in the future and parties may even agree to what situations could warrant a modification.
Cohabitation of a Dependent Spouse
In order to modify an alimony agreement, you must be able to show a “change in circumstance” has occurred that calls for the increase or decrease of your current alimony payment. One such “change in circumstance” could be a dependent spouse’s cohabitation with another person.
When a dependent spouse cohabitates with another while still receiving alimony payments, it raises questions. Are the payments being used to support the dependent’s new partner? Is the dependent also receiving financial support from his or her new partner? If either of these answers are yes, it may be time to modify the alimony agreement.
According to the Alimony Reform Act of 2014, some factors that could be grounds for alimony modification based on cohabitation include:
- Duration spent living together and / or frequency of contact
- Joint responsibility for living expenses
- Length of relationship
- Combined finances
If you have already established a dependent’s cohabitation, the burden will then shift to your ex-spouse to prove he or she still needs the alimony you’ve been paying. Partial reduction or full termination of the alimony payment will be determined based on the degree of economic benefit experienced by the dependent in their new cohabitation.
Alimony may be terminated or reduced if the dependent spouse:
- Has been together with his or her new partner for a longer period of time than the two of you were together
- Can no longer prove a need for the additional financial support
- Receives indirect financial support, often in the form of gifts
- Receives direct economic benefit from their new partner
Because every situation is different, we encourage you to contact an attorney if you have questions or concerns about modifying a current alimony agreement. We would be happy to review your case and determine if a modification is appropriate for your circumstances.
Our Bergen County Family Law Firm Takes Modifications Seriously
Your modification could hang on the ability to convince the judge that your situation has diverged significantly enough to warrant such a change. Secure vigorous representation from our Bergen County family lawyers to ensure your best chance at reducing your alimony order.
Call us today to discuss your situation during a free consultation! Evening appointments available.