Articles Tagged with change in circumstance

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In an unpublished decision in the matter of  T.M. v. R.M., A-4724-16T3 (App. Div. April 5, 2018), the Appellate Division considered a plaintiff’s appeal of the trial court’s denial of his motion to modify his alimony and child support obligations based on changed circumstances. At the time of the parties’ divorce, the plaintiff was earning a salary of $100,000 per year as a limited partner with OTR. In 2011, plaintiff lost his job and was unemployed for eighteen months. The plaintiff became employed again in 2012, earning $38,400 per year.

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At the time of divorce, defendant was attending nursing school. Pursuant to the  parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA), the plaintiff agreed to pay the defendant $3,000 per month in permanent alimony, and “$1,000 per month payable twice a month in child support.” The MSA stipulated these figures were based on plaintiff’s yearly income of $100,000, and no income for defendant. The MSA also obligated plaintiff to pay defendant seventeen percent of his annual gross earnings exceeding $100,000, and maintain medical insurance. The MSA stated defendant was working toward her nursing degree, and was expected to graduate in December, 2013. The MSA anticipated defendant would become employed because it stipulated a review of spousal support would occur one year after defendant’s graduation. The MSA stated if defendant did not complete her education, an income would be imputed to her.

In 2015, the plaintiff filed a motion seeking modification of his alimony and child support obligations. The Plaintiff argued that he had experienced a permanent change in circumstances as a result of the change in his income. Specifically, the plaintiff stated he earned $38,400 in 2014, $43,000 in 2015, and that he expected to earn $50,000 at the time of the hearing. The plaintiff also argued the parties’ MSA provided for a built- in review period tied to defendant’s attainment of a college degree and job. In addition, plaintiff argued a reduction in child support was warranted because one son had completed college, was employed full time, and was thus emancipated; their other son had entered college.

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In the case of Slawinski v. Nicholas, 448 N.J. Super. 25 (App. Div. 2016), the Appellate Division addressed a dispute involving parents who entered into a consent order establishing rights to grandparent visitation but then later wished to abrogate those rights. In this case, a motion was brought by the mother to terminate the visitation rights of the fraternal grandparents, claiming that the children were being harmed by the visits. The Appellate Division reversed the decision of trial court and stated that a parent could not unilaterally modify the consent order granting rights of grandparent visitation. The Court rejected the mother’s argument that, “[T]here is no burden that [mother] has to do anything other than say this is not working out, I tried.” The Appellate Division addressed grandparent visitation, as follows: Continue reading

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In September 2014, the New Jersey Legislature amended this State’s statute on alimony.   Among thefile0001270953716 changes that the new alimony statute contains was a provision related to retirement.    The addition that the Legislature made to the alimony statute to include a provision for alimony is lengthy.  N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(j) now provides that alimony may be modified or terminated “upon the prospective or actual retirement of the obligor.”   Continue reading

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On January 12th 2015, the Appellate Division published its opinion in the case of Costa v. Costa.  In Costa, the parties were married in 1994 and divorced in 2006.  They had two children together, one being born in 1997 and the other in 2000.  By way of settlement agreement entered into at the time of the divorce, the parties agreed the mother would be the primary residential custodian and that they would share joint legal custody of the children. Continue reading

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On April 28th 2014 the Appellate Division issued an unpublished decision in the post-judgment case of Fox v. Fox, A-2339-12T1, 2014 WL 1660394 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div.). The Appellate Division reversed and remanded the trial court’s decisions to deny Dorothy Fox n/k/a Lamuraglia’s motion to modify child support. Ms. Lamuraglia was seeking to terminate her child support on the grounds that the child was about to start college. Continue reading

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courtIn July I wrote a blog explaining Assembly Bill A3909.  This Bill, loosely based on a Statute enacted in Massachusetts, affected a broad range alimony reform.  Continue reading