Your husband’s mere assertion of an inability to meet his court-ordered support obligations, in and of itself, does not relieve your husband of these obligations. Your husband’s support obligations remain firm until they are formally modified, either through agreement or as the result of a judicial determination.
You have the right to request that the court enforce your husband’s support obligations and to seek repercussions for his current noncompliance with the order, as well as any future failure to comply with the order. This request will require a formal application that simply sets forth the terms of the order with which your husband is not complying and the circumstances surrounding his noncompliance.
Your husband will have the opportunity to respond to your application, and it can be anticipated that in response, he will seek a modification of the order based upon his unemployment and inability to pay the support that has been ordered. Keep in mind that most courts will require more than mere unemployment before it relieves a party of support obligations.
Your husband will have to demonstrate to the court that his unemployment is not a temporary situation, that it is not the result of a voluntary conduct (i.e., quitting) or misconduct (i.e., termination with cause), and that he has made substantial documented efforts to secure other employment, either within or outside of his or her given field. You will have the opportunity to respond to his assertions and challenge whether his unemployment is temporary or voluntary and whether he has taken diligent and exhaustive measures to secure other employment.
Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich is a divorce attorney and partner with Lesnevich & Marzano-Lesnevich, one of New Jersey’s best-known family law firms, in Hackensack, NJ.