Change in Alimony Based on Injury or Disability

Alimony Modification Attorneys in Woodland Park, Clifton, Wayne, Paterson, and all Passaic County Divorce Cases

New Jersey law holds that, based upon need, an ex-spouse may be required to pay alimony or spousal support. In New Jersey, alimony may be awarded to limit any economic effects of the divorce that are unsustainable for the spouse who earns lower wages or none at all. The duration of alimony would not exceed the length of the marriage and is decided on a case-by-case basis.

What is alimony, and can its terms change if the paying partner becomes unable to work?The two general reasons that a spouse would be required to pay alimony are in order to maintain the other’s standard of living or to support their process of becoming financially self-sufficient after financial dependence. The four types of alimony are open durational alimony, rehabilitative alimony, limited durational alimony, or reimbursement alimony.

According to the 2014 New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 2A: 34-23, there are fourteen factors that determine judgment of alimony awarded in a divorce hearing:

  1. financial need and ability of spouses to pay
  2. marriage or civil union length
  3. physical and emotional health and age of the parties
  4. established standard of living
  5. career earnings capacity
  6. length of time the requesting spouse has been without work
  7. parental responsibilities
  8. time and financial energies required to prepare the requesting spouse for work
  9. historical contributions to the marriage, both financial and non-financial
  10. equal distribution of property
  11. each person’s income and assets
  12. tax implications
  13. legal fees paid by and in support of either party
  14. additional relevant factors

Upon reaching an alimony settlement, there are numerous ways in which alimony can be paid, including a one-time buyout in lieu of ongoing payments, agreed upon by the recipient of the alimony; as well as property holdings in exchange for alimony payments.

What happens if the spouse paying alimony becomes permanently injured and loses their capacity to pay?

After a court awards alimony to a spouse, it is sometimes the case that the partner ordered to pay alimony experiences an injury or disability that renders them unable to work. Now with limited income, they are unable to pay the ordered alimony determined after divorce. In order to qualify for this judgment, the disabled partner and their attorney need to demonstrate to the New Jersey Superior Court, Family Part, the following conditions of their status:

  • Proof of medical treatment for their injury
  • Proof that the disability renders the person incapable of procuring a job equal to that of their career profession
  • Proof that the disability is permanent

New Jersey divorce law holds that, in the presence of evidence that a party no longer has the financial capacity to pay alimony to their ex-spouse, a reduction or termination of the court-ordered alimony is feasible.

In 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed the New Jersey Alimony Reform Act and, as part of the reform, made it easier to obtain reductions or terminations of alimony.

Contact a Passaic County New Jersey Family Law Attorney Today

If you are under a court order to pay alimony, and you have undergone an injury or disability that restricts your capacity to pay, contact our law offices today. An experienced member of our team will guide you through the next steps in appealing to the New Jersey Superior Court, Family Part, for a reduction or termination of your alimony obligations.

If you are currently facing a family law issue or alimony doubts or questions, the Passaic County NJ family lawyers of The Montanari Law Group will provide you with an honest assessment of your case and answer all of your questions. With knowledge at your disposal, you can make the most informed, confident decisions for your future and that of your family. Simply call 973.233.4396 to receive your cost-free consultation or visit our website.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.