Alimony & Spousal Support

Closure of Business Was Not a Change of Circumstances Requiring Modification of Alimony and Equitable Distribution Obligations

In the family law, alimony and equitable distribution case of Carnevale v. Carnevale, 20-2-3207, App. Div. March 14, 2014 the husband/defendant appealed the order of the Family Part denying his notion for a reduction of his alimony and equitable distribution obligations. In his motion, defendant argued that the decline of his business, Darosa, Inc. and its closure was a prima facie change of circumstances requiring a reduction in his alimony and equitable distribution obligations. The appellate panel found Judge DeBello properly found that no change of circumstances had occurred that would require a modification of defendant’s support and equitable distribution obligations. The basis for defendant’s alimony obligation and for equitable distribution was detailed in the parties’ Property Settlement Agreement (PSA). All of the alleged “change circumstances” raised by defendant in his motion existed at the time the parties signed their PSA. Further, defendant acknowledged that Darosa had been a “failing business” since 2001, ten years prior to the divorce. He had been searching for other employment prior to April 2011 and he had filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Because these circumstances were expressly acknowledged in, and factored into, the PSA, a modification of defendant’s obligations, just seventeen months after the agreement was reached, would not be equitable and fair.

Reference: Case & Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal, 215 N.J.L.J 861, March 24, 2014.

Filed Under: Family Law: Reduction of Alimony and Equitable Distribution: Change of Circumstance

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