Does Alimony Stop When You Retire?

does alimony stop after retirement

Does alimony end at retirement? It can. Florida Senate Bill 1416 abolished permanent alimony in 2023. This law also empowers payers to petition for the modification of alimony upon “reasonable retirement.” If you’re ready to retire, our experienced Florida attorneys are here to protect your interests. Enjoy the retirement you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A., for your free consultation.

Does alimony end at retirement? The answer is complex. Most recently, Florida has done away with permanent alimony, so you don’t have to worry about paying your ex-spouse indefinitely. The new system tailors payments to your particular situation, considering factors such as the length of your marriage, the gap between your incomes, and your financial situation in retirement.

In addition, under current law, you may petition for a modification or termination of alimony when you reach “reasonable retirement.” This concept is subject to interpretation. Thus, seeking legal counsel is critical to achieving the results you want. 

At the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A., we specialize in tactfully and effectively navigating clients through divorce proceedings. Our spousal support attorneys offer comprehensive legal services to those along Florida’s Treasure Coast. We will work tirelessly to modify or terminate your alimony payments upon retirement.

Common Misconceptions About Alimony and Retirement

Perhaps the most common misconception about alimony is that it is permanent, regardless of your circumstances. If a Florida court orders you to pay your ex-spouse alimony, you may believe that you are responsible for paying until one of you passes away. Fortunately, this is no longer true.

In July 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1416, a measure significantly changing Florida Statute 61.08. Florida now has four types of alimony: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, or durational. Alimony is no longer a permanent obligation. Additionally, payers may petition for a modification or termination of their alimony payments upon changing circumstances or “reasonable retirement.” 

So, does alimony end at retirement? The answer depends on your situation. Many people believe their obligation will automatically end when they stop working. They may even think that they can retire early to avoid alimony payments. These misunderstandings can result in costly errors. Working with a qualified divorce lawyer is the best way to successfully navigate this process.

Experienced divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A., can provide essential insight into the complex relationship between retirement and alimony. We’ve helped many Floridians retire without the burden of alimony. Our glowing client testimonials speak for themselves. 

How Retirement Affects Alimony

When you retire, you rely on your savings, investments, and Social Security benefits. Living on a fixed income presents a host of challenges. Between paying your bills and preparing for unexpected expenses, you may be unable to send alimony to your ex-spouse. Since spousal support and the equitable distribution of assets are partially based on your income, retirement presents the opportunity to reduce your obligation. 

While payers have always been able to petition for relief after changes in circumstances, the 2023 law established new measures to modify alimony for voluntary retirement. You must prove that you have reached an age typical for retirement, as defined by either the Social Security Administration or members of your profession. 

You’ll also need to prove that you are taking steps to retire and that doing so will impact your ability to support your ex-spouse. Carefully cataloging your reasons for retirement will aid you in achieving the best possible outcome.

Case Law: Examples of Various Retirement Scenarios

The following cases highlight some of the factors courts will consider when deciding whether retirement justifies the termination of spousal support. 

In the 2018 case of Bauchman v. Bauchman, after 27 years of marriage, the former husband was ordered to pay his ex-wife $5,500 monthly in alimony. The original marital settlement agreement did not provide for either party’s retirement. A decade later, the former husband filed for modification or termination of alimony. He testified that he had not contemplated retirement at the time of the marital settlement agreement. While this petition for modification was initially denied, the decision was reversed on appeal and remanded to the trial court.

In the recent case of Mango v. Mango, the couple divorced after a 22-year marriage. The former husband was ordered to pay his ex-wife $750 biweekly. Fourteen years later, the former husband filed to eliminate or reduce his permanent alimony obligation based on his voluntary retirement from NASA. However, because he still held another job, the court determined that the petitioner did not establish a legally sufficient change in his financial ability to pay alimony.

In the 2019 case of Holder v. Lopez, the former husband had been paying permanent periodic alimony for 14 years. He filed for a reduction or termination of alimony after retiring from his career as a truck driver. The court initially reduced—but did not terminate—his alimony. He appealed the decision. The appellate court found that the former husband’s retirement was reasonable because of his advanced age, long career, and physical limitations.

Strategies for Navigating Alimony and Retirement

During divorce proceedings, your attention gets pulled in many directions: child custody, debts, marital property, and spousal support. It’s easy to focus on the present instead of your future. Plan proactively by seeking legal counsel from the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A. With our guidance, you’ll be prepared to navigate alimony and plan for retirement.

If you’re years away from retirement and going through a divorce, we’ll work with you to develop a plan for how support should work as you and your ex-spouse age. Incorporating this into your settlement will allow both parties to reach an agreement well in advance, saving you time and money.

If you plan to retire soon and face alimony challenges, we can file a petition for modification on your behalf. The 2023 law specifies that you must submit this document “in reasonable anticipation of retirement” but not more than six months before you will stop working. This paperwork is still required if your retirement has already occurred or is involuntary. 

The court will consider the following factors:

Our attorneys will build the strongest case possible, outlining your assets, income, and any benefits you expect to receive in retirement. We will also inform the court of your compliance with your existing alimony obligation. Our experienced family lawyers have helped clients throughout Florida modify or terminate alimony in preparation for retirement. We’re here to secure your financial future.

The Role of Court Decisions

In Florida, the court makes all decisions about alimony. While precedent and legislation govern much of the process, the court is given broad discretion for whether a party is entitled to payments, how much money must be paid, how long alimony will last, and which type of alimony to award. 

The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A., has aided numerous clients in alimony modifications due to retirement. Our skilled attorneys focus on your needs at each stage of the process, and this dedication empowers us to obtain the best results possible. We’ll prepare you by letting you know what to expect when filing your petition for modification. 

Preparing for Retirement-Related Alimony Modifications

Before submitting any paperwork, consider partnering with a reputable family law firm. A knowledgeable and skilled spousal support attorney can bring structure and expertise to your petition for modification.

Our team will walk you through the factors contributing to your ability to modify or fully terminate your alimony payments. We’ll answer your divorce law questions and compile the documentation necessary for your petition. 

The court will want to know about all assets you and your ex-spouse acquired before, during, or after your marriage. Your income, your ex-spouse’s income, and any benefits you may receive through Social Security or pensions will also impact the final judgment. Our team will work diligently to synthesize this information into a clear argument for modified alimony. 

Spousal Support Attorneys in Your Corner

Does permanent alimony end at retirement? It can. An experienced spousal support attorney can assist you in modifying or terminating alimony in Florida. Contact the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker for assistance with alimony matters related to retirement. Reach out to us online or call 772-708- 0952 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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