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Can I Modify Alimony Payments in New Jersey?

When spouses divorce and one is financially dependent on the other, alimony payments may be required. The amount that is owed in alimony is determined by the court. However, over time, situations may arise which lead one spouse to believe the amount owed in these payments should change. This may come months or even years after a divorce. When this happens, they may request a modification to see these changes reflected in their alimony settlement.

Why Would an Increase in Alimony Be Requested?

Financially dependent spouses after a divorce may be required to pay alimony in order to help their former spouse maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to. However, if there is a change in either spouse’s financial situation changes over time, there may be a request for an increase in alimony payments. Some situations that may warrant an increase in alimony payments are as follows:

  • The supporting spouse’s income increased
  • The dependent spouse recently lost their home
  • The supporting spouse recently received an inheritance or came into a large sum of money
  • The dependent spouse’s cost of living has escalated
  • The dependent spouse has recently developed a medical condition or was seriously injured and now has costly medical bills to pay

Why Would a Decrease in Alimony Be Requested?

There are other circumstances in which there may be a request for a decrease in alimony payments. This may be if the dependent spouse is no longer believed to need the payments, or the current amount is no longer required of the independent spouse. Some examples of circumstances that may warrant a decrease in alimony payments can include:

  • The dependent spouse recently remarried and does not require a third form of payment
  • The supporting spouse is going to retire
  • The supporting spouse lost their job or was demoted
  • The dependent spouse got a job or a boost in yearly income
  • The supporting spouse’s cost of living has substantially increased
  • The dependent spouse did not take the necessary actions to become financially independent

How Do I Modify my Alimony Settlement?

When a spouse wishes to see their alimony settlement modified, it is important to know that they must receive the approval of the court. They simply cannot change the payment amount on their own. This is done by submitting a “consent order” to the court. In the event that the other spouse does not agree to these new terms, the spouse may have to file a request for an alimony modification. In doing so, they are required to prove that the change in their life that requires the modification is significant and ongoing. If the spouse is able to prove they truly need an increase or decrease in alimony payments, the court can grant a modification.

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