Alimony Reduction

1. Can alimony be modified?

Alimony can be changed. However, it is not easy to convince a court to reduce alimony. Alimony only defines spousal support obligations of a spouse in the present. Spousal support duties are always subject to review and a modification of a “change of circumstances.” The seminal case that defines what is a “change of circumstances” is Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139 (1980).

Many of my clients mistakenly believe that once their divorce is over, then their problems are over. Unfortunately, these clients are sadly mistaken. More than one half of the cases pending in the courts concerns post-judgment applications. The courts are flooded with applications by disgruntled former husbands that request a reduction and/or a termination of alimony.

Many former husbands make it a personal “jihad” or a “holy mission” to reduce or terminate their alimony. It is not uncommon for a former husband to file an alimony reduction motion once a year, or every other year. The bottom line is that men hate alimony with a passion. Alimony is as equally unpopular as taxes are. It is very expensive to live in New Jersey. Many men after they have taxes, child support and alimony garnished from their paychecks have no money to live on. Moreover, it is very difficult for men to have any disposable money to spend on dating if their entire paycheck is being garnished. Consequently, many men become obsessed with reducing alimony. Many men mistakenly believe that reducing alimony is “their way out.” The sad truth is that many men move out of New Jersey if their efforts to reduce alimony are not successful. Many men move to Florida or down south. This makes it much easier for a person to escape the stresses of living in New Jersey, and from the constant threat of being arrested for being delinquent in paying child support and alimony.

Many couples spend countless years litigating over alimony. After many years of litigation, many former wives’ really start to question whether receiving the alimony is worth all of the aggravation, and all of the legal fees that they had to incur. Some give up, and are they forced to consent to a reduction or a termination of alimony. Some less fortunate former wives’ must fight for their economic survival, and fight “tooth and nail” to keep their alimony.

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