Does Early Retirement Affect Spousal Support?

Making the decision to leave the workforce is not one you take lightly. It takes time to calculate your expenses, evaluate your retirement or pension funds, and determine whether or not you can retire early. But, have you also considered your former spouse’s expenses? While it was established in 1998 that alimony payors are entitled to retire at 65 even if it means that they are no longer able to meet spousal support, that doesn’t necessarily ring true for early retirement cases.

Determining Spousal Support

California law does allow for modification to spousal support based on changes in circumstances—including early retirement. In many cases of early retirement, support was not terminated entirely, merely adjusted to reflect the change in income. Even still, this requires a few steps in order to successfully execute.

First, look over your settlement agreement. It is especially helpful to look over this with an experienced divorce lawyer. In fact, some divorce settlements state explicitly that spousal support terminates upon retirement. Others, state that payment must continue post-retirement, but are reduced based on income reduction. For the courts, one of the major factors in determining the degree of payment modification is whether or not your retirement is voluntary. If you are retiring early involuntarily due to illness, inability to work, or other factor, it is more likely that the court will respect your need to reduce or even cease payments. However, if you volunteer to retire early based on personal preference, you may still be required to pay.

Voluntary vs. involuntary early retirement is just one factor in determining ongoing spousal support, others include the age you divorce, and if you are divorcing post-retirement. Your attorney can walk you through the process of terminating or adjusting spousal support payments, so you feel confident.

To learn more about your spousal support options, turn to our Encino attorneys at Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law. We are happy to help you through the process. Call us today!