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Can You Reduce Your Alimony Obligations When Your Ex-Spouse Starts Getting Retirement Income?


Courts do not order divorced people to pay permanent alimony in very many cases, but when they do, it is meant to be permanent, terminating only when one of the ex-spouses dies for when the recipient ex-spouse remarries or enters a financially supportive romantic relationship.  While the obligation to pay alimony is permanent, the amount is not.  The parties have the right to petition the court to increase or decrease the alimony amount when financial circumstances change for one or both spouses.  The most common reason for modifying alimony obligations is that the supporting spouse has suffered a reduction in income because they were laid off from their job or because their investments or business ventures have suffered financial losses.  Retirement is another cause of change in former couples’ financial circumstances.  The courts often modify alimony awards when the parties go from having the income and expenses of working adults to having the income and expenses of retirees.  If you are planning to retire soon and can no longer afford to keep paying your ex-spouse the permanent alimony amount you agreed to in your marital settlement agreement (MSA), contact a Boca Raton alimony lawyer.

Don’t Take From Your Ex-Husband What You Can Get From Your Own Retirement Account

Marjorie and Gordon were married for 27 years; their divorce became final in 2005.  One can infer, based on the appeals court’s decision, that both parties worked during the marriage, but that Gordon’s income was substantially higher.  The parties’ MSA stated that Gordon must pay Marjorie $6,375 per month in permanent alimony.

In 2014, Marjorie turned 60 and became eligible to receive monthly payments from one of her retirement accounts.  Gordon petitioned the court to reduce his monthly alimony obligation by the amount Marjorie would receive each month from the retirement account.  The court agreed and reduced his obligation accordingly, even affirming its decision after Marjorie appealed it.  The court’s reasoning is that divorced people are entitled to receive alimony from their former spouses when they have no other way of getting the money they need to cover their reasonable expenses.  (The court determines a divorced person’s reasonable expenses based on the standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage or what they can currently afford, whichever is less.)  Any money that a divorced person can get from employment or their own separate assets (such as investment accounts or separately owned real estate properties) should not be their ex-spouse’s responsibility.  The purpose of alimony is to keep divorced people from being so poor that they would need to rely on public assistance.

Contact Schwartz | White About High-Net-Worth Gray Divorce

Even if you are affluent, your alimony obligations should not be burdensome.  A South Florida alimony lawyer can help you if you got divorced after a marriage long enough to qualify for permanent alimony, but both you and your ex-spouse own substantial separate assets.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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