In today’s society, many families are structured around a stay-at-home model where one parent assumes the role of caregiver while the other serves as the breadwinner. This model, although it has its benefits, can also create a significant financial discrepancy between parties in the event of a divorce. As such, to minimize the economic disparity, the court can order the higher-earning spouse to pay spousal support or alimony to the dependent spouse. This predetermined court-ordered payment helps the dependent spouse maintain a similar lifestyle to what they became accustomed to during the marriage. The higher-earning spouse will typically have to provide this financial support for a set period. However, when the higher-earning spouse loses their job, they often wonder if that will end their support obligation. Please continue reading to learn whether alimony will be reduced or terminated if the payor loses their job and how our qualified Monmouth County Spousal Support Attorneys can help you today.
Will alimony end if I lose my job in New Jersey?
Many individuals mistakenly think that if they lose their jobs, they are automatically off the hook for making alimony payments to their ex. However, that is not the case. If you lose your job, your support obligation will still require you to continue to make alimony payments. It’s vital to continue to make payments unless you have received permission from the court to do otherwise. If you fail to uphold your support obligation, you can face significant consequences, including being held in contempt of court. As such, if you have a legitimate reason for being unable to make your alimony payments, such as suddenly facing unemployment, you should enlist the help of an experienced attorney who can help you file a request with the court to amend your existing alimony order.
Modifying an existing alimony order is only possible if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. If the paying spouse loses their job, it may be considered a significant financial change, which may call for a reduction or termination of the order. However, you must demonstrate that unemployment was the last resort and that you have actively sought comparable work without success. You must also prove that you did not intentionally lose your job to avoid fulfilling your support obligations. Nevertheless, the following factors can impact whether the court finds it appropriate to grant an alimony amendment:
- Why was the income reduced or lost?
- Are you consistently looking for comparable work?
- Is your health preventing you from working?
- Has your ex-spouse’s financial circumstances significantly changed since the initial alimony order?
- Any other relevant factors.
In the unfortunate event that you have lost your job, which has hindered your ability to afford your alimony payments, it’s in your best interest to contact a trusted attorney from the legal team at Paone Zaleski & Murphy, who can help you prove a modification to an existing order is fair for both parties.