NJ Money Help interviewed attorney Kenneth A. White, Esq. to discuss options after changing jobs while having to pay alimony.
Q. I’m confused about how alimony payments work. Suppose one agrees on a certain amount based on their current salary of roughly 50 percent, but then changes their career at a much lower salary for more enjoyable work or a new career. What happens to the alimony amount?
Consult with a Certified Matrimonial Attorney when you change jobs and careers while still being obligated to pay alimony to your ex-spouse.
Kenneth A. White, Esq. discussing the options for individuals who have changed careers with lower paying salaries while knowing they are still obligated to pay alimony. He states that in order to qualify for a review and perhaps a modification, a divorced individual must establish that a “significant, permanent change of circumstances” has occurred since the order that set the alimony obligations. When changing careers, you should understand that becoming voluntarily under-employed will not constitute a “change of circumstance” that the court will consider worthy of a review or modification of an alimony obligation.
On the other hand, if you lost your job and made a good faith effort to find comparable employment over a substantial period of time, perhaps over a one- to two-year period, and because of no fault of your own you were compelled to take a job outside of your historical field at a lower rate of pay, a judge could rule in your favor. The burden is on you to establish that you have done everything within your contract to find comparable work and that the change was due to no fault of your own. Mr. White suggests discussing your prospective change in employment prior to making that change will prevent you from falling into any pitfalls.