Legal Memorandum: Proving Modification to Alimony or Support

Issue: Under New Jersey law, what must a party seeking modification to alimony or support prove?

Area of Law: Family Law
Keywords: Modification to alimony or support; Changed circumstances; Burden of showing
Jurisdiction: New Jersey
Cited Cases: 685 A.2d 508; 569 A.2d 770; 281 A.2d 273
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2000

A party seeking a modification to an alimony or other support order bears the burden of showing that there is a change in circumstances to justify the modification.  See Innes v. Innes, 117 N.J. 496, 569 A.2d 770 (1990). See Crews v. Crews, 164 N.J. at 33-34, 751 A.2d 524, 526-27 (2000) ("changed circumstances" shown where supporting spouse’s ability to pay increases enough to meet previously determined marital lifestyle).

Accordingly, the trial court should be expected to find that a husband’s failure to make his payments was in bad faith, and award attorney fees to the wife accordingly.  See Williams v. Williams, 59 N.J. at 233, 281 A.2d 273 (1971); Walles v.Walles, 295 N.J. Super. at 516-17, 685 A.2d 508 (1995).