After one enters into a settlement agreement that includes an alimony obligation or after a New Jersey Court establishes an alimony obligation, the person who has to pay that alimony may later have a change of circumstances that make it difficult or impossible to fulfill that alimony obligation. On an application to the Court, an alimony obligation may be modified. The Court will look at the circumstances to determine whether a change is warranted. A short term period of unemployment typically does not garner a change. However, if it can be demonstrated that the change in circumstances is permanent than the Court may award a downward modification or reduction to your alimony obligation. These circumstances can be complicated. For instance, if someone is paid on commissions, fluctuations in income are anticipated. Of course, when there is an established trend in a particular industry causing a dramatic change in income, there may be a stronger argument for a reduction in an alimony obligation. Also, a business owner or entrepreneur may experience a downturn in revenues. This too may warrant a reduction in alimony. Again, an examination of the causes in the downturn in revenue will be scrutinized. However, if it is determined that the downturn is due to no fault of the obligor of the alimony award, a reduction in alimony may be awarded.
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