Monday, August 20, 2012
Modification of Alimony- What is Required in NJ?
A change in employment or earnings of a spouse, either the payor or the payee, is not necessarily enough for a modification of spousal support. The court requires a "prima facie showing of changed circumstances" to consider modification of support. Prima facie is latin for "at first sight" or "on its face." What this means if that the change must appear, to the court, to be significant and in need of further consideration at a hearing. The change in circumstances required for a modification of support is one that substantially impairs the ability of a spouse to support himself or herself. This means a long-term change, not simply a reduction in income during a slow period in a spouse's business cycle. The court also considers the earning capacity or potential earning power of the spouse, not simply whether they are using the ability or the power. This means if the court finds the spouse can earn more, the court will impute to the spouse the income the court believes they can make. A long-term change in the economy, a certain industry leaving the area or a long-term disability are examples of reasons the court will consider modification of alimony. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter. If you are seeking a modification of support or someone is seeking to modify a support order imposed on you, you should consult an experienced family law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on alimony, divorce, dissolution of civil union or domestic partnership, custody, child support or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.