Everyone knows that when you’re approaching your retirement, it’s important to take a good look at your finances. You have to review your retirement plan and savings in order to decide the best way to obtain a realistic budget and enjoy your golden years at the same time. If you’re a divorcee, it’s also important to know if you’ll receive or pay spousal support after you retire. This is a very common area of concern for those who have gone through a divorce and are now reaching retirement. In this article, we examine the different laws and guidelines that determine if you’re required to pay spousal support after retirement.
Check Your Settlement Agreement
The quickest way to know if you’re required to pay spousal support after retirement is by reviewing your settlement agreement from the time of your divorce. People will often mistakenly assume that their spousal support payments will automatically end with retirement. However, this is not always the case. Spousal support payments will normally have some sort of timeline or formula set when you initially went through the divorce and agreed on a settlement. Maybe your settlement agreement already states that your spousal support will cease upon your retirement. Maybe your settlement states that you’ll continue to pay spousal support after retirement, but only a portion of what you originally paid prior to retirement. Either way, most divorce settlement agreements will allow for modification for major life changes. Retirement will normally fall into a category of a major life change and will be considered eligible for review.
Changing or Terminating Your Spousal Support Payment
There are a number of factors that the courts will consider when attempting to reduce or terminate spousal support payments after retirement. First, it’s normal for a person’s income to significantly decrease once they enter retirement. He or she will not be receiving their regular salaries or bonuses, making their income much lower. This will often give the courts a good reason to comply with a request to reduce or terminate spousal support payments. However, a major element of this decision will come down to whether you’re voluntarily retiring or not. If this retirement is voluntary and/or considered early retirement, the courts may not feel as though this is a good enough reason to reduce or terminate payments. If this is simply a voluntary decision made by you and your financial strategist, you may still be required to pay spousal support after retirement. On the other hand, if you’re retiring involuntarily, maybe due to illness or inability to work, the courts will most likely meet your request. Either way, it’s strongly advised to have an attorney to guide you through the process of changing or terminating a spousal support payment.
Does Age Determine if You Have to Pay Spousal Support After Retirement?
Many couples who divorce will often wonder if their age will affect their spousal support payments. While this may not affect spousal support or alimony, it will affect Social Security benefits. Once you’ve turned 62 and you’re legally eligible for Social Security, your ex-spouse may be entitled to some of those benefits. The Social Security Administration sets guidelines for these circumstances. If you are divorced and your marriage lasted at least 10 years, your ex-spouse is unmarried, and he or she is 62 years old or older, you may be required to pay out some of your social security benefits to your ex-spouse. It’s important to also note that your ex-spouse is only entitled to receive these benefits if their own work benefits are less than yours. Also, if your ex-spouse has remarried, they will not be eligible to collect your Social Security benefits
Divorcing After Retirement
What happens if you decide to get a divorce after you’ve already retired? Do you still have to pay spousal support in these cases? This will depend on a few different factors. The courts will look at your income, your ex-spouse’s income, and your overall standard of living. You’re not necessarily exempt from paying spousal support simply because you divorced during retirement. However, the courts will take your lowered income into consideration if you have indeed retired. Your alimony payments will be determined by your retirement income, not the income you received prior to retirement.
For More Information on Spousal Support After Retirement
This topic can become a source of stress for many divorced couples that are entering retirement. If you’re receiving payments, it can be overwhelming to realize that your payments might be significantly reduced in the near future. If you’re making payments during retirement, it can be daunting to think of making payments on a reduced income. Either way, pensions, retirement plans, spousal support, and Social Security all need to be addressed. The best way to approach retirement as a divorcee is with the assistance of an experienced attorney. A spousal support attorney can help you to reduce or terminate spousal support payments and make sure that you’re financially prepared for retirement. Contact an attorney today to learn more!