Countless men and fathers in New Jersey have had their income affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. Many of these same men have been paying spousal support since their divorce was finalized and granted, sometimes years ago.
At the time of their divorce, nobody involved anticipated anything like the devastating effect on the residents of New Jersey caused by the coronavirus – not the men or fathers, not their ex-spouses, not the attorneys representing the husband and wife, nor the judge who heard the case.
It’s possible to reduce alimony payments if there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the man or father who is paying it. Clearly, COVID-19 has resulted in this happening to many men and fathers here in New Jersey. (It’s also possible to ask a family court judge to reduce child support payments).
But a judge will look at a number of factors in weighing the request.
A Divorced New Jersey Man’s Ability to Pay Alimony
When petitioning a court for a reduction in spousal support, the attorneys at Micklin Law Group recognize that each case is unique. So, we tailor your filing according to the situation and how you meet the very specific requirements of New Jersey law.
Besides considering the reduced ability of a New Jersey man or father to continuing to pay the same amount as he was before Gov. Murphy ordered the lockdown and stay-at-home directive, it’s not just what is – or was – on a paycheck that matters to a judge.
The court also considers any unearned income either person might receive from stock dividends, rental property owned by either that continues to generate income, investment accounts, an inheritance or trust fund that benefits either you or your ex-wife, and even gambling earnings. We once represented a client who was a Vegas poker whiz. Although he also had a regular job, during his divorce the court included his often-substantial annual winnings at the card tables as part of setting an alimony amount.
Along with the hard dollars flowing into the hands of either person every month, judges also examine the tax treatment of alimony payments and how each accounts for it on their tax returns.
Other Factors in Reducing New Jersey Alimony Payments
After income, often the next thing a court will want to know is the parenting responsibilities of the ex-husband and his former spouse and whether or not she continues to earn an income during the pandemic.
In more normal times, a judge will also look at other issues including:
- How long the marriage or civil union lasted.
- The age and physical and emotional health of each person.
- What living standard had been enjoyed before the breakup and whether each person can maintain something close to what they’d enjoyed when still together.
- The education, skills and employability of the wife, and how long it may take her to find a job.
- How the marital assets, debts and other property were divided.
Alimony Reduction Help for New Jersey Men and Fathers
While there is a set of criteria judges follow in determining whether alimony can be reduced, they are given a certain amount of leeway to look at other factors.
The family law attorneys for men and fathers in New Jersey continue to work remotely. We are in touch with each other and the court as well as client files because of our electronic infrastructure. So, we can assess your specific situation based on our 20+ years of experience
If you are a divorced man or father in New Jersey and wonder about reducing your alimony payments, you may schedule a meeting in our Virtual Law Office using the link just below or by calling us at either 973.562.0100 in Nutley or, in Montclair, at 862.245.4620.
To schedule an appointment, please request a day/time here.