judge gavel

There are many kinds of changes in our lives that will require a period of adjustment, but dealing with two big changes at the same time is always a huge task. Courts are cognizant of this and will work with you, provided you have evidence to show that it’s a legitimate and real situation you are undergoing. Keep reading to learn more about what information a court would ask for if you need to request an alimony modification after a life change, such as a disability. If you find yourself in a similar circumstance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a Sussex County spousal support attorney right away. We use a personalized approach at our firm and we will guide you through this stressful time.

Basics of Alimony: What You Need to Know

In divorces, a court may order one ex-spouse to give another monetary support after separation. This is known as alimony. The party who sends financial support is the payor and the party who receives financial support is the payee.

New Jersey recognizes four different kinds of alimony:

  • Open-durational alimony has no set end date, and it is usually employed in cases of marriages of over 20 years.
  • Limited-duration alimony is used in cases of shorter marriages, as one ex-spouse helps the other become financially independent.
  • Rehabilitative alimony, similarly, is financial support provided during a short time frame, typically for schooling or vocational training needed to facilitate financial independence.
  • Reimbursement alimony is used when one ex-spouse gives up opportunities to support the other in their achieving an academic degree. Hence, this kind of alimony is about reimbursing that ex-spouse for their prior support.

Will I Have to Keep Paying Alimony if I Am On Disability?

After you experience a disability, you are allowed to petition the court for an alimony reduction. In fact, many life changes justify asking for an alimony reduction, on your part, or even an alimony increase on your ex-spouse’s part, given a positive financial change. With a negative financial change, you may even request an alimony nullification. Admittedly, nullifications are harder to prove necessary, but the option is there.

Lepis v. Lepis (1980) is the landmark case in New Jersey family law that clarified which factors may justify alimony modifications. These are some examples:

  • You as the payor have a change in income
  • The cost of living increases
  • The dependant ex-spouse starts a new job
  • Either ex-spouse’s health changes

Importantly, you don’t need to become disabled to qualify for an alimony modification. Any change in health is sufficient if it results in making the current alimony amount unsustainable. You would, however, need evidence that this is so. Here are some kinds of proof a court would find persuasive:

  • Medical records
  • Recent examinations
  • Financial records

The court will also request the payee’s financial records before coming to a conclusion.