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Termination of Alimony

Alimony Termination in New Jersey

Alimony Lawyer Guides You through Divorce Termination Motions

Sometimes, there is an agreement made to pay alimony and in other cases, the court orders alimony. Regardless of the way alimony becomes a factor in your case, you may be facing or considering a motion to terminate alimony. If this applies to you, there are some important things that you should know before making any decisions.  

How and when is alimony ordered?

Alimony is ordered or agreed to at the time of the divorce.  The facts and circumstances during the marriage and leading up to the divorce play a significant role in deciding if alimony should be awarded and, if so, how much and for how long. For example, if you are a doctor and earn $350,000 a year and your wife is a stay at home mom caring for your three kids, she may receive alimony. The court may decide to award alimony based on your marital situation, or you and your wife may agree on alimony, recognizing that you were the primary breadwinner and she was responsible for the care of your children and household.  If alimony is to be ordered by the court, there are different types of alimony that may apply to your case. 

What types of alimony can be ordered and terminated?

Alimony can be terminated, but it can only be done upon a showing of changed circumstances. Therefore, you must know why alimony was ordered and under what circumstances before you can demonstrate to the court that there has been a change. There are various types of alimony that can be ordered, namely: limited durational alimony, permanent, rehabilitative, or reimbursement.   Limited alimony is ordered based on financial need. Permanent alimony is ordered after a long marriage and acts as a substitute for income that you cannot earn due to your prior role in being the family caretaker. Rehabilitative alimony allows for financial support to a spouse for a specified period of time. During this time, the spouse must obtain gainful employment or education to become self-sufficient.  Lastly, reimbursement alimony is exactly as it sounds. It is reimbursement for the time during which one spouse supported the other to advance their education or training, while not enjoying the benefit of their long-term success.  

Change of Circumstances

As noted above, in order to change or terminate alimony, you must show that there has been a change in circumstances. There is no easy answer as to what factors demonstrate changed circumstances.  The courts look at the individual facts of each case and make determinations based on the law as applied to the facts. However, some past examples of changed circumstances include retirement, loss of income, a substantial increase in the payee’s income, a grave illness, disability, or unemployment or forced underemployment.

Both parties can have changed circumstances impacting the alimony. For example, the Payee can have a change that warrants a reduction or elimination of alimony.  Say, for instance, that the payee earned $30,000 per year the time of the divorce while the payer made $100,000 and the court awarded alimony for a limited time. Five years into the alimony award, the payee wins the mega millions lottery and clearly, no longer needs the alimony from the payer.  If the payer files for termination, he or she may be relieved of alimony obligations because the recipient no longer needs support. 

A more realistic fact scenario in which alimony termination may be sought occurs when the payee cohabitates with another.  The party seeking modification must demonstrate that the parties are living together in a manner tantamount to marriage. Essentially, they will argue that the payee no longer needs support because expenses are shared by the cohabitant. 

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Alimony Attorney Today

Overall, determinations to modify or terminate alimony are fact-sensitive and must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  While there is no checklist you can follow, at The Law Offices of Jacobs Berger we have experience handling these cases and knows what to look for and draft when arguing the case.  Contact our office today for a consultation about alimony changes or termination that may apply to you.   

At our firm, you will find an individualized approach to your family law needs. If you come to us with an alimony or spousal support issue, we will be by your side to provide professional and legal advice. We look forward to being sensitive to your needs and helping you fulfill your goals.

To speak with a member of our team today regarding your alimony case in a confidential case evaluation, contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4574.