You are paying alimony as part of your divorce settlement. Your job changes. You make less money. So you pay less alimony, right? Not always.
In New Jersey, alimony is subject to review. But a change in your finances does not guarantee the court will lower your alimony payments.
When you switch jobs by choice
The court may refuse to reconsider alimony payments when you choose to change jobs. Under alimony, your former spouse enjoys the same lifestyle as when you were together. The judge may decide your ex should not suffer because you took a lower-paying job.
A judge may expect you to continue making alimony payments when your paycheck is smaller. This may not make sense. But the judge likely thinks that you made a choice to accept the new job and that you must live with your decision.
When you switch jobs out of necessity
You might change jobs because of circumstances beyond your control. Your employer can fire you, lay you off or go out of business, forcing you to find a new job. In these cases, a judge may lower your alimony payments.
But you may need to prove that you made a good faith effort to find a job offering similar compensation. Your search for a job may also need to be extensive – not for a week or two, but more like a year or two.
Do not try to convince a court that you accepted a lower-paying job because you find the new work more to your liking. The judge is likely to take into account your education, experience and work history.
When you need help
You might feel you are in the right and still lose your case. You might make an innocent mistake in court. Your ex-spouse might be better in presenting their case.
Again, you find yourself in a bind through no fault of your own. No one else knows your case like you do, but you might still need help in presenting your case.