Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers | June 20, 2023 | Spousal Support
New Jersey divorce laws allow courts to award alimony to a spouse. The amount of spousal support awarded depends on several factors, including each spouse’s income.
But what happens to your alimony payments if you lose your job? Do you still have to pay alimony if you are unemployed?
What Happens to Alimony Payments in Bergen County When You Lose Your Job?
It is crucial to understand that your obligation to pay alimony payments does not automatically cease when you lose your job. New Jersey reformed its alimony laws in 2014. The Alimony Bill changed how and when a person can apply to modify alimony payments due to a reduction in income or job loss.
Therefore, you might want to talk with a Bergen County alimony lawyer about alimony payments after job loss. An attorney can explain NJ laws and how they apply to your case.
If you have grounds for alimony modification, a Bergen County spousal support lawyer can file a motion with the court and argue your case to modify payments because of unemployment.
Waiting Time to Petition for Modification of Alimony Payments After Job Loss in New Jersey
The alimony reform law added a mandatory waiting period before a person can ask the court to modify their spousal support payments. You must wait at least 90 days after losing your job to file an application with the Bergen County family court for modification of alimony.
The law gives judges more discretion in modifying alimony, including ordering modification retroactive to the date of job loss or income reduction.
What Factors Do New Jersey Courts Consider When Modifying Alimony After You Lose Your Job?
A judge in Bergen County can consider any relevant factors when hearing a petition to reduce alimony payments.
Some factors courts consider when deciding whether to modify alimony after job loss include:
- The reason you lost your job or had a reduction in income
- Any efforts you have made to secure new employment
- Whether you have made a good-faith effort to find another job
- Whether you are able and healthy enough to work a steady job
- Whether your ex-spouse’s financial situation has changed considerably since the court issued the current alimony order
- If and how long it would take for your ex-spouse to become financially independent
- Whether you received severance pay or another award after you lost your job
- The economic and non-economic benefits you receive from your business if you are self-employed and seek modification because of a reduction in income
Depending on the circumstances, the judge could order a temporary remedy for alimony payments because of a reduction in income or job loss. The judge can reduce alimony payments, suspend support, terminate alimony, or order support to be paid from other assets. The court can schedule a periodic review to determine if circumstances have changed that warrant granting further relief.
Are There Situations Where the Court Will Not Grant Alimony Modification After Job Loss?
Not every job loss impacts alimony in Bergen County. In some situations, the court might not modify alimony payments because of unemployment.
For example, if you quit your job voluntarily, that is not considered an unexpected change in circumstances to warrant modification of alimony. Losing your job because of criminal wrongdoing or gross negligence could also prevent you from seeking relief from alimony payments.
Do not wait to talk with a lawyer if you lose your job or have reduced income. The best way to understand your legal options is to speak to an experienced Bergen County divorce lawyer.
How Do Bergen County Family Law Judges Determine the Amount of Alimony Payments?
Judges must consider many factors when they decide the amount and type of alimony in a divorce case.
Factors the judge will consider include, but are not limited to:
- The health and age of the spouses
- How long the spouses were married
- The marital standard of living
- The education, earning capacity, and employability of both spouses
- A spouse’s parental responsibility for the couple’s children
- Child support payments and equitable distribution of marital property
- Any tax consequences that might be incurred because of the alimony payments
- A spouse’s ability to pay alimony
- A spouse’s financial need for alimony payments
If you have questions about alimony or spousal support, talk with a lawyer. Going through a divorce or alimony case without legal advice and guidance is never wise. The outcome of the case could significantly impact your future and finances.
Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help
Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.