New Jersey Info

New Jersey Divorce Start Your Divorce Find Professionals New Jersey Articles Divorce Facts Divorce Grounds Residency Divorce Laws Mediation/Counseling Divorce Process Legal Separation Annulments Property Division Alimony Child Custody Child Support Divorce Forms Process Service Grandparent Rights Forum New Jersey Products Divorce by County

New Jersey Articles

Agreements Attorney Relationship Custody & Visitation Child Support Collaborative Law Counseling Divorce/General Domestic Abuse Domestic Partnership Financial Planning Foreign Divorce Mediation Parenting Property Division Spousal Support SEE ALL

Info Categories

Contemplating Divorce Children & Divorce Divorce, Dollars & Debt Divorce Laws Divorce Process Divorce Negotiation SEE ALL

More Information

Articles Checklists Research Center Cases of Interest Dictionary Encyclopedia Encyclopedia (pop-up) Blogs

For Professionals

Advertise With Us Free Network Page Join Our Network Submit Articles Case Management Sign In

Network Sites

New Jersey Divorce Support New Jersey Divorce Online

Reducing Alimony Based Upon Loss of Employment or Reduced Earnings
I have recently lost my job making a six-figure job on Wall Street..

I am now working as a sales rep for a local New Jersey company, and I now only earn $60,000 per year. What are my chances to reduce my $300 per week alimony award if I file a motion to reduce alimony?

The family court will carefully scrutinize your application to reduce or modify alimony based upon your reduced earnings. The reason for this is that merely because a payor has suffered a setback in their economic circumstances does not necessarily equate to a legitimate Lepis change of circumstances. However, if you have legitimately lost your job in good faith then you have a "fighting" chance to obtain relief. In my experience many judges are only granting a reduction of alimony on a temporary basis. Many judges will reduce for a six month to one year period. Moreover, many judges will insert into any order that reduces alimony that the issue of alimony shall be reviewed upon application by the payee spouse after a six- month to one year period.

What are some recent caselaw that addresses motion to reduce alimony based on the payor's reduced earnings?

Kuron v. Hamilton, 331 N.J. Super 561 (App. Div. 2000). Here, the defendant who was a former attorney was disbarred for stealing his client's money. He was then sent to jail for nine years. While he was in jail, he filed a motion to reduce his alimony. The family court judge denied this motion. Thereafter, he appealed the denial of his motion to reduce his alimony. The grounds on appeal was that; a) his loss of his law license with his loss of income were sufficiently changed circumstances to allow the reduction of his alimony; b) because his jail term has left him with no source of income adequate to meet his alimony payments, he was entitled to a suspension of his alimony payments without the accrual of arrears while he was in jail.

The wife argued that; 1) because the defendant's disbarment and imprisonment resulted from voluntary acts, the are inadequate bases for reducing or suspending alimony and 2) the trial court erred in its determining that the defendant lacked the then current ability to discharge those obligations.

On appeal, the court revered the trial court's denial of the motion to reduce alimony. The Kuron court further held that:

It may seem counter-intuitive to permit a support obligor to avoid his or her payment responsibility, even partially or temporarily, based upon the consequences of his or her voluntary acts. However, the process of assessing and enforcing family obligation is not an exercise in intuitional rather, it calls for an evaluation and application of all the equitable considerations that emanate from the parties' relationships, understandings and circumstances at every significant junction. Id. at 576.

Miller v. Miller, 160, N.J. 408 (1999). Here, the Appellate Division affirmed the trial court's determination that the payor spouse had demonstrated a significant change of circumstance after he lost his job at Merrill Lynch.

Storey v. Storey, 373 N.J. Super. 464 (App. Div. 2004). Here, the Appellate Division held that in or order to obtain a reduction of alimony based on current earnings, a payor who selects a new, less lucrative career must establish that the benefits he or she derives from the career change substantially outweigh the disadvantages to the supported spouse. Absent that showing, the judge should deny the motion, and impute income based on prior earnings. However, the payor can still try to prove that his capacity to earn is diminished. Thereafter, the judge should then try to impute earnings consistent with the obligor's capacity to earn in light of this background and experience. The payor always has the burden of proof.


Was this helpful? Like our site & let us know.

Related Articles


Start New Jersey Divorce Start Your New Jersey Online Divorce Today
Easy, Fast and Affordable with a 100% Guarantee.
New Jersey Divorce Find New Jersey Divorce Professionals in Your Area:
Join the Network
New Jersey Divorce Products, Services and Solutions New Jersey Divorce Products, Services and Solutions
New Jersey Divorce Resources to Help You Through the Process.
Online Parenting Class New Jersey Mandatory Online Parenting Class
Easy and convenient - complete at your own pace online.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Divorce Bookstore
Over 100 Titles of the Best Books on Divorce & Custody.
Divorce Downloads Divorce Download Center
Instantly Download, Books, Manuals, & Forms.
Divorce Worksheet Free New Jersey Divorce Worksheet & Separation Agreement
Your Guide to Get Organized and Put Everything in Writing.
   
In New Jersey, a separation agreement is any legal document signed by both spouses outlining the terms of the separation. Subjects resolved in a separation agreement can include child support, child custody, debt allocation and asset distribution. Notarizing the document ensures its validity, since there is no such case-type in New Jersey that provides for a "legal separation." Spouses wanting child support during the separation period, however, must file a claim with the New Jersey probation department.
Divorce Lawyers & Mediators
 

Find Professionals

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:

 

Start Your Divorce File for a New Jersey Divorce

 

Settle Your Divorce Negotiate Your New Jersey Divorce

 

Support Forum New Jersey Support Forum

Children In Between - Online Parenting Class


FEATURED TOOL - QdroDeskTM (Divide Your Retirement Account Online)

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site
Limited Offer Women's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"The Absolute Best Investment in Your Divorce"

Men's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"Uncover Your Options and Unleash Solutions"