In the state of New Jersey, alimony is governed by statute (N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23). On September 10, 2014, the statute changed, which arguably makes it easier to modify an alimony obligation in the event of unemployment. While a paying spouse could always seek to modify his/her alimony obligation based upon unemployment under the former law, the changes to the alimony stature clarify the time requirements for a modification of alimony.
Under the new stature, a party can file an application for a modification of alimony due to unemployment, but the paying spouse must have been unemployed for 90 days or more before filing that application. There was no such set timeframe in the previous version of the alimony statute. This could make modification applications easier for the paying spouse, as there is now a set timeframe for unemployment. In the past, the paying spouse would have to determine on his/her own whether the period of unemployment was long enough for the Court to grant relief.
Still, under New Jersey case and statutory law, a paying spouse needs to demonstrate more than loss of employment for 90 days. While time of unemployment is a factor under the statute, it is not the only factor that a Court will consider. It is advisable to speak to an experienced family law attorney to discuss the statute and its impact on you. Posted by Robyn E. Ross, Esq.