How Does Retirement Affect Alimony?
A common question people are concerned with is if they can stop paying alimony when they retire. The answer to this question often depends on the situation. A number of factors are determined by lawyers when approached by clients who want to know whether or not they can terminate or reduce the alimony obligation once they retire.
What is the purpose of Alimony?
The idea and purpose behind alimony is to provide support to the spouse so that he or she can enjoy the same standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage. According to law, if any of the party dies, alimony is terminated. Also, if the supported spouse remarries, that also terminates alimony. Similarly, if the duration for providing alimony is complete, as specified in the Judgment of Divorce, that will also bring an end to the alimony.
Modifying the Alimony
If there has been a significant change in circumstances of the payor spouse, they can obtain a Court Order to modify the support obligation. In many states, 65 years is considered the good faith retirement age. At the time of retirement, the supporting spouse may have reason enough to have the support obligation modified. However, the thing to note here is that if the payor voluntarily retires, then they may not be eligible to have the support obligation terminated.
How does the court determine Modification?
The court will consider a number of factors when determining modification. First of all, the court will inquire whether the payor, who is also the retiring spouse, took advantage of the situation and took an early retirement. Secondly, the court will see if the benefits to the retiring spouse substantially outweigh the disadvantages to the spouse who is being supported through alimony. Other factors considered by the court include the age and health of both parties, assets of both parties and how the retirement assets and pensions were divided. Moreover, the court will consider if the modification will allow the supported spouse to continue their ability to sustain themselves in a decent manner. In case the court finds out that the payor retired before the retirement age, then they will be subject to more rigid standards.
In most cases, there is no guarantee of total termination of alimony. Usually, the court will only grant a reduction in support. In such cases, it is advised to ask your lawyer to negotiate with the other party for a reduction in your alimony obligation when you retire You and your spouse must weight all the financial and emotional costs associated with this to determine whether you are headed on the right path or not.
The effect of retirement on alimony obligations
Most men look forward to retirement and have plans in place. However, if they are divorced, they may have a hefty alimony obligation to take care of. Many former husbands hate paying alimony to a former spouse. They would rather make their life easy and live peacefully than pay a large chunk of their earnings in alimony. For them, their retirement is a “way out” of the alimony trap. They look forward to having the alimony amount reduced or even terminated after retirement.
Each alimony reduction application is reviewed by the court in detail before any decision is taken. If you need to have your alimony agreement adjusted or modified, it is better to contact a qualified and experienced attorney for advice.
Attorney James Logan provides dedicated and personalized legal representation for bankruptcy and foreclosure cases in Baltimore, MD.