On October 11, 2012, a New Jersey Appeals Court issued a decision of interest to divorce lawyers, alimony payers and recipients. In Foley v. Foley (A-0292-11T3), the Court was called upon to consider the length of time a person paying alimony to a former spouse would need to be unemployed before having the right to seek a modification of alimony.  Although the case is fact-sensitive, it is legally important because the Court elected to revisit its previous ruling in Larbig v. Larbig, 384 N.J. Super. 17 (App. Div.2006) which held that 22 months  of unemployment was insufficient to warrant a modification of alimony, in contrast to which the Foley Court stated, “Furthermore, the economic circumstances of the present time, including much higher unemployment rates than are usual, should have been considered…[by the trial court]” (emphasis supplied by author). This language recognizes the hard realities of the current marketplace and, while overdue, is welcomed.

John Eory is the Co-Chair of Stark & Stark’s Divorce Group in the Lawrenceville, New Jersey office. For questions, please contact Mr. Eory.