Retirement and alimony: What to expect

After retirement, one thing you might want to do is end or change your alimony arrangements. Retirement is, fortunately, a circumstance under which you may be able to have your alimony conditions changed. Ending payments may not occur unless you can show that the supported spouse doesn't require aid any longer.

One thing you could do is show that the other party got married, for instance. In that case, you'd likely have no more obligation to pay for spousal support. Similarly, if your ex-spouse obtains retirement, you may no longer need to support them thanks to retirement benefits supporting them enough.

Other circumstances that could help you eliminate alimony payments are if your ex-spouse:

  • Remarries
  • Wins the lottery
  • Becomes gainfully employed
  • Is no longer in need
  • Dies

What about reducing alimony during retirement?

This is possible. When you retire, you likely take a pay cut. This pay cut may make alimony impossible for you to pay in the amount you currently are responsible for. As a result, you can seek a modification of the agreement to lower what you owe each month.

The court will want to see if your retirement is voluntary or involuntary to determine if a change in what you pay is justified. For instance, if you retire just to make sure your ex-spouse receives less, you might be in for a surprise when the court doesn't agree. However, if you have to retire due to age, injury or other circumstances out of your control, the court will likely side with you.

The best thing to keep in mind as you age is that major life changes can result in changes to alimony or spousal support. You can continually seek updates from your attorney or others to make sure you have a solid basis for requesting a change and then do so by seeking a modification through the courts.

In most cases, people no longer obtain permanent alimony, so alimony should only be used until the other party is able to get back on their feet. When in retirement, every dollar counts, so it's worth your time to make sure you aren't overpaying your ex through alimony or spousal support. A quick application to the court could help you reduce what you owe or help you eliminate your spousal support responsibility completely. You may be surprised by how retirement changes your earnings and responsibility to pay.

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