Union County Alimony Modification Attorney in the Midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Divorced people who have faced changes in employment and income due to the pandemic must have court approval to modify alimony payments.
The global Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted nearly every part of our lives. For divorced parents, that interruption has meant that in some cases court-mandated custody arrangements, parenting time agreements, and child support payments have had to be augmented or put on hold completely because of safety concerns, lockdowns, or drastic changes in finances. Similarly, many divorced people paying or receiving alimony have seen their incomes change drastically, rendering them unable to keep up with their court-ordered financial duties.
When New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a State of Emergency on March 9, 2020, and implemented measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, many believed that the outbreak would be short-lived. Unfortunately, as of August 2020, the state and country still don’t have the virus under control, and cases continue to soar.
Because the New Jersey Superior Part: Family Courts were closed as a safety measure and moved online, a backlog of filings for modifications in the area of family law began to grow. The general counsel given to divorced couples and co-parents navigating shared parenting time schedules, child support, and alimony payments was to continue to follow your court-ordered plans as closely as safely possible.
Divorced people who have faced changes in employment and income due to the pandemic, however, must have court approval to modify alimony payments. Some who receive alimony may need an increase in monthly payments. Others who pay alimony, on the other hand, may need a decrease in monthly payments. What supports do New Jersey divorcees have to navigate this tumultuous time, and still be within legal standing? Read on to learn more.
Modifying Alimony Payments with a Linden Divorce and Family Lawyer
Whether you need an increase in alimony you are receiving or a decrease in alimony you are paying, your capacity to modify alimony depends upon the type of alimony you are receiving or paying:
- Temporary (pendente lite) alimony – usually awarded by a court during a divorce proceeding, so the divorcee is able to cover attorney fees and living expenses and maintain their status quo
Temporary alimony can be modified.
- Limited durational alimony – alimony paid for a set amount of time (often the number of years of the marriage, if fewer than 20 years)
Limited durational alimony can be modified.
- Open durational (permanent) alimony – alimony whose term of payment does not have a fixed end date
Open durational alimony can be modified.
- Rehabilitative alimony – alimony to be specifically used for a spouse’s re-entry into the workforce (education, training, etc.)
Rehabilitative alimony can be modified.
- Reimbursement alimony – a form of paying back a spouse for the investment they made during the marriage to further their professional career
Reimbursement alimony cannot be modified.
Changing your alimony agreement in Essex and Union County NJ
If the type of alimony you receive or pay is eligible for modification, there are a couple of ways of changing your agreement. The first is a somewhat informal, yet legally binding, approach: if both parties mutually agree to a temporary change, the change can be put into writing, ideally in the presence of your attorneys.
The modified agreement must include the specific dates of the change – beginning and end – and the specifics of the arrangement.
The above method of modification, however, requires the active agreement of both parties. In the case that this is not achieved and one person is not open to a modification of the alimony agreement, one may approach the courts to review your situation and determine whether a modification is appropriate.
If the court approach is the only available way to argue for alimony modification, one must navigate a more complex system. First, a party must take the step of proving prima facie, which means that a change in their circumstances has affected their ability to sustain themselves, rendering a need to decrease their alimony payment out or augment their alimony coming in. This is done by providing extensive information to the judge that proves recent changes in income and expenses, including documented proof such as bank statements, credit card statements, and personal loan statements. If a judge decides a prima facie case has been made, the motion moves to a full hearing. During this hearing, each party has the legal right to present the court with evidence or the need for alimony modification – or the contrary.
Consult our Linden Alimony Modifications Attorney Today
At Edward S. Cooper law Firm, our attorneys are skilled in supporting our clients in Rahway, Clark, Roselle Park, Garwood, Elizabeth, Cranford, Edison, and across New Jersey in all divorce arrangements.
To meet with an experienced member of our team today regarding your alimony adjustments, contact our offices today by calling (908) 925-9055 for a confidential consultation regarding your specific case. We look forward to representing your legal rights.