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Reducing alimony payments based on change in income

For many New Jersey couples, determining the appropriate level of spousal support is a primary focus during the divorce process. Alimony is determined based on a number of factors, including the income and assets of both parties, as well as the duration of the marriage and other circumstances specific to the couple. Once an alimony payment amount and schedule has been determined, modifying those terms can be an uphill battle.

That can present a problem when a spouse tasked with making alimony payments experiences a shift in his or her employment. If that party begins earning significantly less than he or she did at the time of divorce, meeting the monthly spousal support obligation can be a challenge. One way to address that challenge is to re-approach the court and ask for a modification in alimony payments.

When approaching the court, it is important to present evidence that shows that a reduction in income was involuntary and permanent. Simply accepting a lower paying job for personal reasons is not likely to sway the opinion of the court. Neither is asking for reduction in alimony based on a temporary shortage of available hours on the job.

New Jersey courts are sympathetic to unexpected and significant changes in an individual's employment status. However, in order to be successful in asking that alimony payments be reduced, it is important to present a clear legal argument backed by plenty of evidence. Working with a qualified family law attorney is the best way to increase the odds of achieving the desired outcome.

Source: nj.com, "Can I pay less alimony after job change?", Karin Price Mueller, Sept. 7, 2017

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