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Will an Alimony Agreement End if I Lose My Job?

An alimony agreement is often made with the financial situations of both spouses in mind. So if something major changes, like someone losing their job, shouldn’t that affect the agreement? A job loss can be grounds for modifying an existing agreement, but you should not automatically assume that you can stop paying alimony just because you lost your job. You should talk to our Morris County, NJ alimony and spousal support lawyers before you make any other moves.

When Does an Alimony Agreement End?

In New Jersey, most alimony agreements end after a set period of time or after a goal is reached. For example, you may have to pay your former spouse enough alimony for long enough so that they can get a job and become economically independent themselves. This type of alimony often has a set end date and will not be modified in any kind of family court proceeding. Some divorces award one spouse permanent alimony, but that is rare for couples that were not married 20 years or more.

So an alimony agreement can have different end dates based on what the purpose of the alimony was and the financial situations of both spouses. Whether or not you can modify an agreement due to job loss can depend on a few other factors.

Can I Modify My Alimony Agreement?

So you can modify your alimony agreement after losing your job, but judges are rarely so quick to end an agreement or lower the amount of your monthly spousal support payments. The first hurdle is that you must wait 90 days before you request an alimony amendment. Then you have to show that you lost your job and that you have been searching for a new one in good faith. Then the judge can consider other factors, including:

  • The financial situation of both spouses
  • How the paying spouse lost their job
  • Whether or not the supported spouse can now be self-sufficient

If you did not lose your job due to poor behavior and you have made efforts to increase your income, the judge is more likely to see things your way.

What Happens if I Owe Alimony?

Now, if you lose your job and decide that you are going to stop paying alimony, that is going to be frowned upon. If you owe any back alimony, you are still going to owe it even if you lost your job. If your alimony agreement does get modified, you will still owe payments from before it was changed. So do not just stop paying your alimony. It’s an obligation until the court has told you it is not.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

When you have questions about your alimony agreement and whether or not it can be modified, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C. We can schedule a consultation and have our experienced family lawyers tell you more about how spousal support modifications work.