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Career Change, Change of Circumstances Regarding Reduction of Child Support and/or Alimony
Does a career change constitute a "change of circumstances" to justify a reduction of child support and/or alimony?

This is a very difficult question, and the answer it would most likely depend on the individual judge that handles your Lepis motion. Moreover, you will have to provide a real concrete explanation why you are forced to change to change your career. Your case will depend on a careful evaluation of the "reasonableness" of your decision, and the "relative advantages" of your decision. The court will weigh the totality of the circumstances. See, Storey v. Storey, 373 N.J. Super 464 (App. Div. 2004).

The court will weigh the following factors when it rules on your motion:

  • The reasons for the career change;
  • The reasons for leaving your prior employment;
  • The reasons for selecting the new job;
  • The disparity between prior and present earnings;
  • Your efforts to find work at a comparable pay;
  • The extent to which the new career draws or builds upon education, sills and experience;
  • The availability of work;
  • The extent to which the new career offers opportunities for enhanced earnings in the future;
  • Age and health;
  • The former spouse's need for support.

See, Storey v. Storey, 373 Super. 464 (App. Div. 2004)


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New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the division of property in a divorce is to be done fairly, not necessarily equally. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing property, but it must consider certain factors, such as how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals, among others.
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