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What Happens To Permanent Alimony When One Spouse Retires?


The statistic that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce does not tell the whole story.  Young people have a lower rate of divorce, but also a lower rate of marriage.  Couples in their 20s and 30s are increasingly trying to divorce-proof their marriages by signing prenuptial agreements, indemnifying each spouse against the other’s debts.  Meanwhile, gray divorce is on the rise.  An increasing share of spouses seeking divorce are above the age of 50.  The fact that most divorces don’t involve alimony also doesn’t tell the whole story.  The older the spouses and the longer the marriage, the more likely it is that the court will order one former spouse to pay alimony to the other or that the parties will agree to an amount of spousal support.  Alimony is a popular subject for the outrage industry; it is fun to rant about how unfair it is to be obligated to financially support your ex-spouse forever or to be left broke after a decades-long marriage that your spouse abruptly walked out on.  In your own marriage, though, it is usually obvious when one spouse will require alimony or a temporary or permanent basis.  For help agreeing on an alimony arrangement in your divorce, contact a Boca Raton alimony lawyer.

Even If the Alimony Award Is Permanent, the Amount Is Modifiable

Florida’s legislature is currently weighing an alimony reform bill; various alimony reform measures have been up for discussion in the legislature recently, but the bills have not passed.  The current version of the bill would automatically require modification of alimony orders upon the retirement of the paying spouse.

In real life, you are less likely to run into a court battle than the “all men are liars” and “all women are gold diggers” themed YouTube channels would have you believe.  Most alimony awards are of relatively short duration.  Permanent alimony is only an option when the parties have been married more than 17 years.  They know that retirement age is not too far away.  Most alimony agreements, including those involving permanent alimony, arise from mediation, not from a judge’s ruling.  Furthermore, permanent alimony amounts are almost always modifiable.

If the court has ordered you to pay permanent alimony, it is usually because your ex-spouse’s only source of income is alimony.  Alimony recipients cannot earn enough money to become financially independent because of their age, health, or lack of work experience.  If not for support payments from their former spouses, they would have to rely on public assistance, which is what the court seeks to avoid.  Since the alimony award is designed to be permanent, both spouses know that retirement is coming, and they should conclude an alimony agreement that reflects this.

Contact Schwartz | White About Gray Divorce

A South Florida family law attorney can help you make financial decisions that people who are not divorced tend to discuss with estate planning lawyers.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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