Contempt of Court in New Jersey Divorce Proceedings

What Constitutes Contempt? What Happens If a Party Is Found in Contempt?

Your divorce is final. You’ve reached agreements with your ex about custody, visitation, and support, and the court has documented your arrangement in a written order. What happens if your spouse chooses not to abide by the terms of the divorce decree? What power do you or the court have to make sure your agreements are honored? The answer involves contempt of court citation.

What Is Contempt of Court?

In the American justice system, parties are bound by law to follow court orders, including divorce decrees, custody orders, and support orders. A person who intentionally violates such an order can be found in contempt of court. In divorce proceedings, contempt of court typically involves a failure to pay child support, refusal to make a child available for visitation, or taking the child out of the state or country in violation of a court order

What Are the Potential Penalties for Contempt of Court?

New Jersey courts have substantial latitude with respect to the penalties for violating a court order. One of the most common sanctions is the requirement that the person found in contempt pay the other party’s legal fees. In most cases, the offender faces fines, though the court has the power to take away the perpetrator’s drivers license and even sentence the offender to jail time.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Family Law Attorney

At the law office of David M. Lipshutz, we won’t take your case unless we know we can help. For a private meeting, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.

The Impact of Retirement on an Alimony Order in New Jersey

Can You Seek Reduction in Alimony Payments When You Retire?

The Impact of Retirement on an Alimony Order in New JerseyWhen your divorce decree includes a spousal support obligation, it’s not necessarily set in stone. You can petition the court to reduce the payments if your financial situation changes considerably, though the change typically must be due to factors beyond your control, such as the loss of a job. What happens if you still have an alimony obligation when you reach the age of retirement, particularly if your retirement income is significantly less than your working income? In New Jersey, it depends on the circumstances.

When You Reach Full Retirement Age

Under New Jersey law, upon reaching full retirement age, you can ask the court to consider whether your change in income warrants a termination or reduction of your alimony obligation. Full retirement age is generally deemed to be the age of eligibility for full social security benefits.

Can You Retire Early and Reduce Alimony Payments?

The court will assess a number of factors to determine whether your retirement is reasonable under the circumstances or primarily for the purpose of minimizing your support obligations:

  • The age and health of both parties
  • Whether retirement is voluntary
  • The retiring spouse’s occupation and the physical and mental toll it presents
  • Whether the retirement preceded the date anticipated by one or both parties and why
  • The impact of the retirement on the financial health of both parties

When the paying spouse retires or seeks to retire before full retirement age, the court uses greater scrutiny when assessing whether the retirement is reasonable. Among the factors the court considers are financial incentives from the employer to retire, the physical demands of the job, and any health issues the payor is experiencing. If the court determines that the primary purpose of the early retirement is to lower support payments, the court will likely deny the request.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Family Law Attorney

At the law office of David M. Lipshutz, we won’t take your case unless we know we can help. For a private meeting, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to confer with you Monday through Friday, 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.