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An Order for alimony defines only the present obligations of former spouses and, whether set by a court or agreed upon by the parties, is always subject to review and modification on a showing of “substantial change in circumstances.” Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139 (1980). Changed circumstances in each specific case are extremely fact sensitive.
There are many common scenarios that usually give rise to requests to modify (reduce/terminate) alimony, including the following:
It is important that those seeking to modify or terminate alimony understand that a change in income may be considered by a court if it was “involuntary.” Whereas if a person decides to give up a lucrative medical practice to fulfill the party’s dream of painting (and it is less lucrative), the court will typically not modify a spousal support order related to reduce income from these types of voluntary career changes.
It is also important to note that the standards that apply to your modification may differ, depending on when you entered into the Agreement (i.e., before or after the new alimony statute).
It also matters whether you are a self-employed individual or non-self-employed individual, as there may be different standards that apply.
When seeking a termination or modification based on retirement, the timing of your agreement is equally critical. The amendment to the alimony statute has three standards:
Given the complexities involved with modifications of support, we advise you to contact one of Gebhardt & Kiefer’s experienced family law attorneys at 908-735-5161. We handle modifications of support and family law issues throughout New Jersey.