In an interesting unreported Appellate Division decision released on May 20, 2009, in the case of Williams v. Williams the appellate court affirmed a finding by the trial court that the former husband had not shown a change of circumstances and therefore was not entitled to eliminate his alimony obligation. The case is also a primer of what not to do when seeking a reduction.
In this case, the husband was a long time employee at JP Morgan Chase making $185,000 per year. His alimony obligation was $1,000 per month. When he lost his job in August 2006, he immediately stopped paying alimony despite receiving one year of severance pay.
The husband asserted that he had tried but failed to find comparable work. The opinion was not clear but given the final outcome, one can surmise that overwhelming proof of an unsuccessful job search was not supplied to the Court. The husband further alleged that he had attempted unsuccessfully to establish a consultant business focusing on information technology. He claimed, however, that the only employment he could obtain was a position in a florist shop. It was not disputed that the florist shop was operated by his girlfriend. Though the issue was ultimately decided for other reasons, these facts could also lead to a conclusion the he had not made an initial showing of a change of circumstances.