Alimony refers to financial support that is paid by one spouse to another in the event of a divorce. It can be paid as a lump sum, or in systematic increments on a permanent basis or for a set duration of time.
During the course of either spouse's life, there may be changes in circumstance that require the modification or termination of alimony. However, alimony cannot be altered without valid grounds, such as a no-fault decrease in the paying spouse's income (massive layoff, long-term disability, etc.). The remarriage of the recipient spouse is another common reason for ending alimony payments—except in the case of reimbursement alimony, which must be paid in full regardless of changes in either spouse's life. Even with valid grounds, the paying spouse must file a motion for alimony modification with the Superior Court's Family Division. Until the modification request is approved by a judge, all payments must be made in full to the recipient spouse.
What Should I Do if My Spouse Has Stopped Paying Alimony?
If your spouse has stopped making court-ordered alimony payments in NJ, you should attempt to find out why through a civil discussion. If he or she has legitimate reasons for not paying, you can try to work out an agreement privately, such as a reduction in the payment amount. If you are no longer friendly or there are extreme circumstances, such as a history of domestic abuse, you should immediately seek advice from an experienced divorce attorney. Regardless of your relationship with your former partner, you should be prepared to discuss any proposed arrangement with an attorney.
You may also find that your spouse has no legitimate grounds, but is either tired of paying you alimony or feels that you no longer deserve financial support. For instance, he or she may feel that you are not entitled to continued support since you are currently earning a much higher salary than you did when the original divorce agreement was finalized. However, this is an argument that would have to be presented in court; until then, your spouse is legally obligated to continue your alimony payments in NJ. If he or she continues to miss payments, you will have to ask a judge to force your spouse to make the overdue payments through a contempt, or enforcement motion.
Speak to an Experienced Alimony Lawyer Today!
It is highly recommended that you obtain legal representation to ensure that your motion is filed correctly and that your rights are protected in court. If you need to file an alimony enforcement action, please speak with Partner Vincent C. DeLuca of Villani & DeLuca. Mr. DeLuca has been a family law attorney for over 20 years, specializing in all areas of divorce, such as child and spousal support, equitable distribution of assets and post-divorce modifications. He has also been certified as a Matrimonial Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey — a distinction currently held by few of all practicing attorneys in New Jersey. Call (732) 709-7757 to schedule a free consultation with Mr. DeLuca about your alimony issues.