Does alimony change if income changes?
The short answer is "maybe."
Let me explain.
In New Jersey, if the income of a paying spouse should increase or involuntarily decrease, it is possible in many circumstances for alimony to be adjusted either upward or downward.
The most common concern I normally get from a payor of alimony is what should happen if he should become disabled, or what should happen if he should lose his job.
The most common question that I get from the recipients of alimony is what should happen if she has a change in circumstances and needs more money, or what should happen if her ex-husband is suddenly earning more money than he was at the time of divorce? Should she be entitled to an increase in her alimony? Or what should happen if she should become disabled and needs more money?
In New Jersey, for the last 42 years, it has been possible for either the payor of alimony or the recipient of alimony to file a request with the Court seeking to modify the amount of alimony being paid.
What that person needs to prove to the judge is that there has been a "substantial change in circumstances" so that the original amount of alimony is no longer fair.
So from the payer of alimony's perspective, if he suddenly loses his job and makes a diligent effort to find new employment, but is unsuccessful, he could file a motion with the court asking for a suspension or a reduction of his alimony based upon his "substantial change in circumstances".
Similarly, from the perspective of the recipient of alimony, should she suddenly find that she's disabled from fibromyalgia or from another medical condition and that she can no longer earn to contribute toward her own support, under certain circumstances she has the right to come back to court and ask the judge to increase the payor's obligation to her.
None of this is easy and none of this should be attempted without a good lawyer working with you. but it is important that you understand that if either the payor or the recipient of alimony should experience a substantial change in circumstances, it is possible to petition the court for a change in the amount of alimony.
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