When a New Jersey couple decides to end their marriage, it is not uncommon for financial issues to be a central focus of proceedings. In many cases, the court orders child or spousal support in divorce — sometimes, both. A woman who has been paying spousal support to her ex-husband thinks his recent cash windfall is reason to end her court-ordered payments.

The woman says she was always the primary breadwinner in her marriage. She went to work while her husband stayed home to take care of their dog. When they divorced, the judge ordered her to pay spousal support for five years.

Before the five years was up, however, the woman’s former spouse hit the lottery. In fact, he won $273 million, prompting his ex to request that he tell the court he no longer needs spousal support. The woman said she is happy for her ex-husband and has no desire to request a share of his winnings; she only wants spousal support to end because the amount she has been paying is a pittance compared to his lottery winnings.

When a New Jersey court orders spousal support or child support in divorce, the person paying must continue to make timely payments according the terms of the court order unless and until the judge overseeing the case ceases or modifies the court order. Either party has the right to seek a formal modification of an existing court order based upon evidence of a substantial change in circumstances. Anyone with questions about state laws regarding such issues may request a consultation with an experienced family law attorney to obtain answers.