It is well-settled law in New Jersey that child support and alimony awards are always modifiable. While there is an abundance of case law in the area of post-judgment modifications of support obligations, particularly in this economic climate, the most often cited case for modification is the seminal New Jersey case of Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139 (1980). Indeed, the Lepis Court was the first in holding that when changed circumstances substantially impinge upon the supporting spouse’s ability to pay support at the level ordered, a modification of the support order might be necessary. The burden to prove this change in circumstances falls upon the supporting spouse when such a downward modification is sought.
A reduction in the supporting spouse’s income has long been recognized as a changed circumstance warranting a support modification, so long as it is not temporary in nature. In addition, the recent Appellate Division case of Angelastro v. Angelastro, recently solidified the notion that a support modification may be sought when the supported spouse’s economic circumstances change for the better.
In Angelastro, the parties’ property settlement agreement, executed in September of 2008, awarded the wife alimony as follows:
The [h]usband shall pay to the [w]ife[,] starting at the sale of the marital home[,] the sum of $350 a week in [a]limony commencing for a period of six (6) years. Upon the completion of aforementioned six (6) years[,] the [h]usband’s [a]limony obligation shall reduce to that of $200 and continue for a period of eight (8) years thereafter representing a total payment period of fourteen (14) years.
In addition, child support in the amount of $200 per week was provided for. The parties’ property settlement agreement specifically predicated the above support awards upon the wife’s imputed income of approximately $25,000.
Continue Reading Changed Circumstances Is A Two Way Street, the Appellate Division Says