Divorce proceedings can be long and drawn-out, but once they are finalized, moving on with your life is important. The final terms of a divorce are not, however, set in stone. There are issues that may arise even after a divorce is finalized due to changes in circumstances for the former spouses or their children. Read on to learn about some of the issues to keep in mind even after a divorce, and contact an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney if you or your former spouse are seeking to modify the terms of a divorce judgment.
Changes to alimony
If one spouse in a divorce has a significantly higher income, a New Jersey court may order alimony. If either party has a substantial change in circumstance after the divorce, the court may agree to consider modifying the order. Issues that may lead to modifying alimony include:
- Change in income for either party
- Failure of a business
- Changes to cost of living
- Significant health issues
The party seeking to modify the alimony bears the burden of proof and must show a substantial change in circumstance. To reduce or stop paying alimony altogether, the supporting party must show that they are no longer able to make the set alimony payments and that the change in their circumstance was both “involuntary” and unforeseeable at the time of the divorce–the paying spouse cannot simply quit their job or retire the year after the divorce and then try to stop paying.
If the party receiving alimony remarries, alimony is automatically terminated.
Child support considerations: education expenses
Courts may modify the terms of child support due to changed circumstances. In addition to changes in a co-parent’s income or unforeseen circumstances such as health issues, New Jersey’s alimony law, N.J.S.A. section 2A:34-23, includes the needs of the child for education, “including higher education,” as a factor in determining the appropriate amount for child support. A child attending college may merit a change in the amount of child support owed by the supporting parent.
Relocation with a child
Under New Jersey law, a co-parent cannot relocate to a new state with a shared minor child without the consent of the other co-parent or a court order. Consent or a court order is also required if the co-parent moves far enough within the state to affect the co-parent’s rights under a shared custody arrangement.
If you or your spouse are seeking to modify the terms of a divorce settlement or judgment, call the compassionate and efficient family law attorneys at the Englewood offices of Herbert & Weiss for a consultation at (201) 500-2151.