Modifying Your NJ Alimony Orders
Alimony is a payment made to a former spouse in order to allow the lower income spouse to maintain a lifestyle similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. In most cases, alimony is temporary and is intended to provide financial support until the former spouse can become self-supporting. Permanent alimony is only available after long marriages when one spouse gave up a career or education to support the other spouse’s career or to care the family.
Modifying an Alimony Order When You Are Receiving Alimony
It is difficult to request an increase in alimony payments. In general, one does not have a right to be supported by a former spouse. However, the law recognizes that many people give up their education or career to support a partner and family. These obligations may not end with divorce. A spouse who is unable to become self-supporting because of childcare obligations may request an extension of the initial alimony order.
Modifying an Alimony Order When You Are Paying Alimony
Alimony is intended to allow both spouses to live a lifestyle that is similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. However, a substantial decrease in income can make that type of lifestyle impossible. You may request a decrease in alimony payments if your income has involuntarily decreased due to a loss of job, lay off, retirement, failure of a business or health condition.
You may also request a decrease in alimony payments if your former spouse’s income has substantially increased allowing him or her to become self-supporting.
Changing an Alimony Agreement
It is difficult to modify or reduce alimony. If you wish to change a New Jersey alimony agreement, you must prove that there is a significant change in your financial circumstances and that continuing your current alimony payments would be a significant burden. BYou must show that these changes are “involuntary”. You cannot stop making alimony payments because you decided to quit your job and form a rock band or because you chose to retire at 52. Because you wish to change the agreement, you bear the burden of proof.
Attorney Melinda M. Previtera can help. If paying alimony has become a financial hardship, contact Melinda at 856-942-0150. She’ll be happy to discuss your options.
Termination of New Jersey Alimony After Remarriage
In New Jersey, alimony payments automatically terminate when the former spouse who is receiving alimony remarries. The financial obligation to the former spouse ends with that spouse’s marriage even if the alimony was designated as permanent alimony.
Enforcement of Alimony Orders
A New Jersey alimony court order or signed alimony agreement is a binding legal document. If your ex is withholding payments, he or she is breaking the law. This means that you have a legal right to receive all current and overdue alimony payments.
Melinda M. Previtera can help you file a Notice of Motion for enforcement with the court. The notice will request:
- Immediate of scheduled payment of all outstanding alimony
- Timely payment of future alimony
- Payment of all legal costs and fees incurred by the filing of the Notice of Motion in the New Jersey Family Court
After you have filed a Notice of Motion for enforcement of your New Jersey alimony agreement, the courts may use a variety of means to enforce your alimony agreement. These include:
- Wage garnishment: Wage garnishment is the most common means used to enforce NJ alimony agreement and collect overdue payments. It may take time for you to get all the money that is owed, as there are limits as to how much income can be garnished.
- Seizure and sale of personal property: A local sheriff may seize and sell some types of personal property in order to cover unpaid alimony in New Jersey.
New Jersey takes spousal support seriously. Continued refusal to pay alimony can result in a bench warrants for the arrest of the defaulting spouse.
We understand money is tight. Delayed alimony payments are a real hardship if you are depending on New Jersey spousal support to feed your family and pay bills. You have options. Contact Melinda M. Previtera at 856-942-0150 to schedule a telephone conversation to discuss your rights.