Paying Alimony after Retirement

When a couple divorces, the lower-earning spouse may ask the court to develop an alimony order. This order requires the higher-paying spouse to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse for a defined period of time in order to avoid the receiving spouse from being financially ruined by the divorce. An appropriate payment amount and length of time to make the payments is calculated using the length of the couple’s marriage, the length of time the lower-earning spouse spent out of the workforce or working a part-time job in order to devote him or herself to the couple’s home and children, each partner’s assets and current income, and each partner’s financial needs following the divorce.

When the paying partner experiences a change in his or her income, he or she may seek a modification to his or her alimony order citing “changed circumstances.” A changed circumstance is any significant event that affects the individual’s ability to make his or her payments, such as an illness, bankruptcy, job loss, or retirement.

Seeking a Modification to your Alimony Order

To modify your alimony order, you need to petition to the court that created the order for a modification. Your petition should include evidence of your changed circumstances. Th is is known as the burden of proof, which means that as the individual seeking the modification, it is your responsibility to prove that it is necessary. Work with an attorney to obtain all the necessary information for your petition and file it with the correct court.

Your Circumstances Can Affect your Modification

If you seek an alimony modification with the court, the court will examine your case to determine an appropriate change to the order. It could even find that no change is appropriate. A few of the issues the court examines to make this determination include:

  • When did you retire? If you retired early, this could be an indication that you are financially comfortable and thus able to continue to make alimony payments.

  • What is your current financial situation? If you are adjusting to a much lower income amount each month or a fixed income, the court will generally be more lenient with your request.

  • What are your other financial obligations? What are your former spouse’s financial obligations? If you still have minor children to support, this can play a role in determining how much you can afford to pay in alimony after your retirement.

Basically, you need to prove that your reduced income will make it difficult or impossible for you to continue making your alimony payments as you currently are.

For aid with modifying your alimony order or other divorce and family law issues, contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at 732-370-9596 to determine your options. We are an experienced divorce law firm based in Lakewood, New Jersey, serving clients in Mercer, Middlesex, Burlington, Ocean, and Monmouth counties.

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