Divorce rights

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Divorce rights

My boyfriends ex wife filed for a divorce. Right now she has a restraining order against him. They have 4 children together. My boyfriend pays all her bills- house, utilities, car, child support, etc. How is he supposed to support himself when he’s paying all her bills? How should he proceed? Currently does not have the money for another lawyer.

Asked on July 18, 2017 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If a court has ordered his payments, or he agreed to them in a written divorce settlement or agreement, they can *only* be modified by a court, if he makes a motion (a formal request to the court) for a hearing to modify the payments based on a change in his life circumstances making the current payment schedule impossible. He would have to show that something *beyond his control* (e.g. layoff, termination, disability, etc.) occured, causing him to not be able to pay what he agreed to pay or was ordered to pay. While having an attorney would clearly help him, he is legally allowed to proceed without an attorney (as his own lawyer, or "pro se").
If there is no court order or written divorce agreement/settlement yet and he is simply voluntarily paying these things, then he may pay her less if he chooses. Payments are only locked in or mandatorywhen there is an order or settlement.


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