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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34992
Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
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I have a friend who because her 14 year old daughter has elected

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I have a friend who because her 14 year old daughter has elected to live with the dad has had her ex-husband (who makes considerably more than she does) ask her for additional child support, and at the same time ask for tuition expenses for her older daughter who is going to college. She had been awarded more alimony by the judge (this is the state of NJ) than she is currently receiving, but settled for less because her husband bullied her (this was 5 years ago) and said he was going to keep fighting it, and she did not have the money to continue to pay her attorneys. In this circumstance, if she is forced to pay the additional child support and tuition expenses she will not be able to afford to continue to pay the mortgage on the house that she and her husband shared, and be forced to sell it in a bad market. It's her only investment. Does she have a case for reopening alimony? Is she not entitled to live in a similar lifestyle as in her marriage (saw a citation on Internet)?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 9 years ago.
She can petition the court for a modification to her alimony.

There is a mechanism that allows for a spouse to petition for a change in circumstances

The NJ case is Crews v. Crews, 164 N.J. 11

That case held: Defendant wife filed a motion for modification of a rehabilitative alimony award. The motion court denied the motion, the appellate court affirmed, and defendant appealed. The court held the standard for a motion for modification was whether the supported spouse could maintain a lifestyle that was reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. If the supported spouse could not, and if the supporting spouse's financial condition permitted, a modification to the support award was appropriate and warranted. The court found the trial court made no specific finding in respect to the marital standard of living. Therefore, there was no assurance that in setting defendant's support award, the trial court concluded that it would provide her with adequate resources to enable her to support herself in a lifestyle reasonably comparable to the lifestyle that existed during the marriage. The court reversed the decision and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

SO, if your friend can show that the standard of living has dropped and that the ex can afford more...then she will have a good case

Make sure she hires a good attorney

Talk to several...find out there experience with such cases and their record. Talk to former clients to verify they were happy. Its a buyers market, pick a lawyer who can fight for you.

Please let me know if you have further questions; if so I will do my best to answer them. If not please hit the green accept button, its the only way I get paid.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank you for the information. Would it be necessary for her standard of living to have actually dropped before she could petition the court? In other words, this scenario occurs in the future, where she will be forced to sell her house because she cannot afford the expenses. Or is it enough to show simply that she cannot afford the expenses, and would have to sell the house in a bad market? What prevents a judge from saying to her, "go get another job so you can support your children"--mind you that the husband doesn't need the money, forces the daughter who's going to college to work for her expenses--so where is the current child support going? In the meanwhile, my friend is not able to put anything away for retirement, is going to school at night to try and further her career, and if she got another job would not be able to do this, obviously (in other words is really struggling), while the ex-husband and current wife are doing extremely well, own several cars, including a Hummer, etc.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 9 years ago.
I think that if she can prove that in the very near future he standard will drop, that will be enough to at least start the process.

Nothing prevents the judge from telling her to get another job...but the standard under the Crews case is if she can show that the standard has dropped and that the other can pay, she at least has a shot.

This case will be all about finding the good, aggressive attorney who can present the case to the judge and convince him or her that an adjustment is in the interest of justice. The facts you list give a decent shot at that

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