Burden of Proof for Alimony Modification
- August 27, 2013
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Lepis v. Lepis was decided by the NJ Supreme Court in 1980 and set the standard those seeking alimony modification must meet prior to the court ordering discovery, financial disclosure and a plenary hearing. According to Lepis, the moving party must make a prima facie case of changed circumstances which have “substantially impaired the ability of the movant to support themselves.” If the movant meets the burden of proving changed circumstances, the Judge then must consider the factors set forth in New Jersey Statute 2A:34-23 which include the financial circumstances, education levels, child rearing obligations, physical and mental health and vocational opportunities of both parties as well as any other factors the court deems fitting. Also, the court considers the marital standard of living and whether the parties can maintain reasonably similar circumstances. In Fintland v. Fintland, a recent case, the plaintiff appealed from the order of a Bergen County Superior Court Judge granting the defendant’s motion for a reduction in alimony. The NJ Appellate Division found that the Superior Court Judge ignored Lepis and N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23 in making her findings and remanded the matter for appropriate consideration. If you are filing of facing a motion to modify alimony or child support, you should consult an experienced family law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. There are many ways in which such motions may be proven or disputed and it is critical you understand the burdens you face. For more information about divorce, civil union dissolution, custody, visitation or other family law matters visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.