Alimony Modification Denied For Lack Of Changed Circumstances
- March 6, 2015
- No comments
In the case of Monico v. Monico, the Plaintiff appealed from a 2014 Family Court Order that denied his Motion to modify his alimony obligation based upon changed circumstances. The New Jersey Appellate Court affirmed the decision of the Family Court. Each “and every motion to modify an alimony obligation ‘rests upon its own particular footing'” and the Appellate Court “must give due recognition to the wide discretion” that is given to trial judges who adjudicate these matters. Larbig v. Larbig, 384 N.J. Super. 17, 21 (App. Div. 2006); Martindell v. Martindell, 21 N.J. 341, 355 (1956). Ultimately, this standard conveys that a trial judge’s findings in regard to alimony should not be vacated unless the court clearly abused its discretion, failed to consider all of the controlling legal principles, made mistaken findings, or reached a conclusion that could not reasonably have been reached on sufficient credible evidence. Gnall v. Gnall, 432 N.J. Super. 129, 148 (App. Div. 2013). Court Orders concerning alimony “may be revised and altered by the court from time to time as circumstances may require.” N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23. Therefore, alimony obligations are “always subject to review and modification on a showing of ‘changed circumstances.'” Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139, 146 (1980). The law regarding what constitutes a change of circumstances is well established. Examples of changed circumstances that may warrant support modifications include an increase or decrease in the paying spouse’s income or disability or illness which arises after the divorce judgment is issued. In this case, the Plaintiff argued that the Family Court judge who denied his request to modify his alimony amount was mistaken in considering his 2012 tax return instead of his projected earnings for 2013, when determining if a change in circumstances had existed. The judge noted how the Plaintiff’s income had increased since signing his property settlement agreement (the parties were divorced in 2007) based upon multiple sources of income. According to the Appellate Division, as the Plaintiff’s 2013 financial information from his primary business, a towing company that he owned, had not been finalized it discerned no reason to disturb the Family Court’s ruling to deny the Plaintiff’s request based upon insufficient evidence of changed financial circumstances. Being that the laws governing the issues involving alimony have recently been changed, it is very important that you seek out the advice of an attorney to protect your rights an entitlements. If you anticipate that you may want to petition the court for a post-judgment modification of your alimony obligation it is imperative that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about alimony, child support, post-judgment modification , or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way is intended to replace the advice of an attorney.