If you are responsible for making regular spousal support payments from a divorce or separation agreement, you might begin to wonder how things might change as you near retirement. Once your income stream changes your support payments will change as well? If so, what can you expect?
One thing to keep in mind is that your spousal support payments will not automatically adjust because of any circumstances unless the circumstances are specifically contemplated in your agreement or court order. Therefore, all changes will need to be agreed upon in a separation agreement or court order or will require one party to make a formal request in court. Since every situation is different we cannot necessarily guarantee results.
One factor that may influence things will be the manner in which you enter retirement. Your treatment in the courts will be different if you are forced into retirement or if you willingly go into retirement.
A party that willingly goes into retirement then pleads poor to the courts is not likely to get much sympathy.
The court will take into account both parties’ financial situations when determining if there should be a change in spousal support. In retirement, you likely will not earn as much income – but, as mentioned above, it is not an automatic process that the required spousal support payment will decline.
Sometimes the conditions of spousal support will have been drawn up in the Separation Agreement. This document may include specific dates for when the amount of spousal support and other figures should be reviewed. It may also make mention of a time when spousal support ends. Typically, agreements make reference to a review of support on a ‘material change in circumstances’. An assessment of the specific circumstances will therefore be required.
The best step to take is to go over this document along with your lawyer. This will give you insight into what you can expect in the months and years to come as you approach and enter into retirement.
For any other questions or concerns, feel free to consult Epstein & Associates about how we can help you will your family law situation.